26/03/2014 - Wage inequality soars

wagesLast week Oxfam revealed that the UK's richest five families have a greater combined wealth than the poorest twenty per cent. It was another stark reminder of the growing inequality between ordinary people and the 'elite' in our country. 

Wage inequality has soared in parts of Britain since 2000. In this time the pay gap between the top tenth of earners in London and the bottom tenth has shot up by 14%. It may be worst in London, but it's a trend over most of the country. In the South East, the earnings gulf has widened by 9% since 2000, and in the West Midlands it's up 7%. 

TUC research reveals how much the top 10 per cent of earners across the UK bring home and how their salaries vary greatly. The highest top earners are in London where they receive £82,000 a year, followed by those in the South East who are on £57,000 and the East of England where they earn about £52,000 per annum.

In contrast, an annual salary of about £46,000 puts workers in the top 10 per cent of earners in Yorkshire and the Humber and £45,000 makes the top 10 per cent in the North East. But it is in Wales where the top earners command the least, about £43,000 a year – nearly half of what those in London are taking home.

Workers on the bottom 10th percentile in London will be earning less than £18,000 a year, less than £15,400 in the South East and less than £14,800 per annum in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.

Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented:

"The TUC has launched 'fair pay fortnight' to highlight this problem and good luck to them. The truth is, however, that the system itself produces and promotes huge inequalities within our society. People sense that the gap between what different sectors earn is too wide and that it is breaking any sense of social solidarity. Few believe we are 'all in it together' as far as the austerity agenda is concerned. Ordinary people feel abandoned, betrayed and alienated. They are looking in all directions for a solution, a saviour. Who will step up to that role?"