Inequality: What I've learned in 20 mins
When I was invited to write about my view on inequality, I must admit I didn't know where to start.
Inequality is bad, it's a problem, it's a hard debate to have when some people have worked so hard for what they have today, and others haven't, but all that aside, I took myself on a journey to gain a better understanding about inequality in the UK, and here's five things I learned:
1) Inequality results in poverty - generally countries where inequality is high, poverty is a bigger problem. The wealth gap has caused poverty to hit twice as many UK households in 2014 than it did 30 years ago.
2) Inequality costs Britain £39 billion each and every year (the same amount we spend on defense) - the 100 richest people in the UK have as much money as the poorest 18 million people in the UK, and people are calling upon politicians to take action.
3) Because of inequality, in the UK 5.5 million adults go without essential clothing, 2.5 million children live in damp homes, 1.5 million children live in households that cannot afford to heat them, one in four adults have incomes below what they themselves consider is needed to avoid poverty, and that more than one in five adults have to borrow to pay for day-to-day needs. Rich Londoners live up to 25 years longer than those from poorer parts.
4) Forbes journalist Maura Pennington believes the solution to inequality is for the 'have-nots' to become the 'do-somethings'. Rather than accept poverty, they should do something to change it. I agree to a certain point, but those that don't know how to 'do-something' should be supported by the government to change their fate.
5) When asked why inequality matters, the UK's Coalition government were quoted to say 'Every member of society has the right to be 'healthy, wealthy and wise' - a shorter version of the proverb 'early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. I can still hear my Dad saying this to me, as my 7.30pm bed time came around. I still go to bed early. I run a communications agency.
I've just spent 20 minutes learning about inequality, and some of these stats will change the way I think forever. I will continue to think long and hard about how I could potentially help the 'have-nots' to 'do-something' - a solution I agree with, but admit, is much easier to write than make a reality.