Advanced search

Destitute Britain: UK Has Poorest People in Western Europe, Study Claims

(23 Posts)
blacksunday Thu 04-Jun-15 19:50:45

A new report on pay inequality claims the UK is still blighted by Victorian-style inequality, and the country houses the poorest people in western Europe.

The High Pay Centre, an independent think tank which studies the average household disposable income in European Union OECD countries, finds that the UK's lowest average disposable income is amongst the worst in the entire continent - even though our richest people enjoy some of the highest salaries.

The top 20% of UK households have an average disposable income of £31,670 (€39,662, $53,785) a year, which puts us behind only Germany and France. However, the lowest 20% in this country have an average disposable income of just £5,506 – the poorest in western Europe.

According to the report, the plight of Britain's bottom 20% bears closer resemblance to the under-classes of Slovenia and the Czech Republic than anything to be found among Europe's economic powerhouses.

"Simply, for the millions of people comprising the poorest fifth of our population, life is much worse here than it is for the poorest fifth in virtually every other north-west European country - countries we would like to think of as our equals," stated the study.

"These figures suggest we need to be more concerned about inequality and how prosperity is shared, as well as average incomes or aggregate measures like GDP. The fact that the rich are richer in the UK than many other countries hides the fact that the poor are poorer," said High Pay Centre director Deborah Hargreaves.

"Most people think our living standards in the UK are similar to economies like France and Germany, but being poor in the UK is more like being poor in the former Soviet Bloc than in Western Europe."

The report picks up on George Osborne's 2014 budget speech, in which he spoke of a lessening gap in income inequality as a result of the global economic crisis.

However, the chancellor fails to mention that the only reason the gap has been narrowed is because the top fifth's disposable income has lowered, not because of rising income for the bottom 20%, stated the study.

"The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that, as the economy recovers, the increase in inequality will resume. The IFS say that income inequality will be 'about the same' as pre-recession levels by 2015-16," it said.

blacksunday Thu 04-Jun-15 19:51:39

We can count on the Tory scum to continue to make things worse for all but the richest 20% or so.

Thanks Tory voters.

claig Thu 04-Jun-15 19:59:03

Labour was in power for 13 years. What did they do about this? They didn't do much for aspiration so did they concentrate on this and if so why is the situation so bad here?

DorothyL Thu 04-Jun-15 21:40:18

What is classed as disposable income - are things like food or transport already accounted for in this?

silveroldie2 Thu 04-Jun-15 22:17:27

I googled the author and apart from the bloody awful grammar, his experience doesn't appear to be relevant to the subject of the article so forgive me for thinking it's bullshit.

Seriouslyffs Thu 04-Jun-15 23:46:56

claig under labour child poverty reduced more than any at other time in history.

Seriouslyffs Thu 04-Jun-15 23:52:22

And for non Guardian lovers wink
IFS report

AnyoneForTennis Fri 05-Jun-15 10:18:45

So what's the solution?

Seriouslyffs Fri 05-Jun-15 10:34:15

Well Anyone we recently had an election. Lots of solutions were offered but as a country we elected the Tories, with their austerity measures. So it seems that people aren't that bothered about a solution.

pastmyduedate0208 Sat 06-Jun-15 22:11:43

It comes down to the cost of living crisis. Rent, mortgages, utilities and travel costs are painfully high compared to wages.
Our artificially inflated housing market has a lot to answer for.

The free-market capitalist Westminster government with it's what's-best-for-business-is-best-for-all-of-us collective mentality. This is Tory Labour Green Lib all of them.
They all perpetuate the notion that being poor is something to punish, while simultaneously ensuring the majority of people are made as poor as possible to maximize profits.

Labour are as guilty. The Tories, are at least the devil you know.

All wealth created by society is being creamed off as profit.
It's unsustainable. Britain is before our eyes demonstrating the consequences of a Thatcherite free market (Labour continuum).

The solution comes when capitalisms seeds of destruction contained within it's own structure start sprouting through the cracks.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 06-Jun-15 22:13:02

Is that you ttosca?

HermioneWeasley Sat 06-Jun-15 22:14:35

OP, you might be more credible if you didn't use phrases like "Tory scum"

pastmyduedate0208 Sat 06-Jun-15 23:22:51

Are you Gay In Love with ttosca?

blacksunday Sun 07-Jun-15 09:52:06



blacksunday Sun 07-Jun-15 09:53:40


Scum, psychopaths... these are appropriate words for a political party which has caused so much suffering, misery and death to the poor, ill, and disabled.

pastmyduedate0208 Sun 07-Jun-15 11:18:43

Not to mention daylight theft. ("privatisation") Royal Mail, right-to-buy, nhs... Etc etc.

Hello Ttosca.

specialsubject Mon 08-Jun-15 14:26:57

my anti-virus package blocked that website so be careful.

what is disposable income by this definition?

specialsubject Mon 08-Jun-15 14:29:25

This guy is a journalist (i.e. professional writer) whose online profile begins 'I have wrote for...'

so I very much doubt anyone is paying him to write. In which case what he is saying can be dismissed as another ranty blog.

HermioneWeasley Mon 08-Jun-15 16:50:39

OP, I think branding anyone who is a conservative or hasvoted conservative as "scum" is as simplistic as branding anyone on benefits a "scrounged". It signals to me that there's not going to be any thoughtful discussion, just a rant.

After the election there were lots of MNetters explaining why they had voted conservative - none (if any) sounded like disabled hating scum to me.

MamanOfThree Mon 08-Jun-15 16:59:40

If the numbers are right (and I believe they are, the UK is one the worst re benefits for the poorest and weakest people in the society), then surely the discussion should be about whether we think it's an acceptable fact or not?

Of course, this is never part of election discussion. IT's all about how lucky we are to have any benefits at all and how other countries really want to have the same. they don't, you can get much better benefit/support system in a lot of other european countries

TweenageAngst Mon 08-Jun-15 17:16:33

This is an interesting article which compares benefits across Europe available to a 30 year old EU migrant in any of the member states. UK is actually pretty generous
or the official website

caroldecker Mon 08-Jun-15 18:00:20

If we look at the OECD report, and check the numbers. For the bottom 20%,

OECD average is $8,496
Czech republic is $8,594
Slovenia $9,035
Spain $6,791
Portugal $7,254
Italy $8,903
UK $10,195

We are lower than France and Germany

So, not equivalent to Czech or Slovakia and not lowest in Western Europe.

Article is complete bollocks.

Isitmebut Tue 09-Jun-15 11:53:10

Ha ha ha ..... well done, clearly another blacksunday misinformation classic exposed, hence gone M.I.A.

As a larger economy than most in Europe, of course we will have more, better paid people, paying more tax than they did under Labour.

As to the lower end, the Eurozone this week showed they still have 11.2% unemployed versus ours as half that rate, how was that weighed in the figures, or are they paid higher welfare/benefits/tax credits than the UK - as I thought I heard recently that we pay (substantially) more than even France and Germany?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now