Top Banner

Click here to load reader

The Wealth Chasm - 100 years of tackling poverty and inequality in the capital

Jan 17, 2015



Presentation by Danny Dorling at the LVSC & Trust for London centenary conference on income inequality in London, Canary Wharf, November 23rd 2010.

  • 1. LVSC & Trust for London conference on income inequality in London 100 yearsof tackling poverty and inequality in the capitalThe Wealth Chasm Danny Dorling 23rd November 2010 Clifford Chance Canary Wharf Poverty in London, 1896, 1991 and later mortality See this and other talks as multimedia versions athttp:// /presentations/


  • Purpose of talk is to explain:
  • Why income inequality is of relevance to all Londoners, especially at a time when the capital is not only still recovering from the recession but also facing severe cuts in public sector spending

1 in 10 of whose babies died in 1901 because they tolerated poverty. Todays equivalent is poor mental health 3. When Im worried about something I can talk to my mum or dadWhen Im worried about something I can talk to my friendsWhen Im worried about something I can talk to an adult other than my mum or dad.Children who answered yes to at least 2 of these 3: Source: Tell US Survey cancelled 2010 Childrens mental health is getting worse. Especially in London GOR Emotional health of children 2008/09 Emotional health of children 2009/10 change North East 63.6 56.7 -6.9 North West 65.0 58.6 -6.4 Yorkshire and The Humber 64.3 57.3 -7.0 Sheffield East Midlands 60.4 61.9 56.5 54.2 -3.8 -7.7 West Midlands 63.6 57.8 -5.8 East of England 61.6 56.0 -5.6 London 60.2 53.2 -7.0 South East 61.6 54.8 -6.8 South West 62.7 56.2 -6.5 England 62.6 56.0 -6.6 4. We chose to become less equal JRF studies of poverty and wealth 1968- 2005 We reap what we sow. 5. We chose to abandon millions to enrich the minority who have most land JRF studies of poverty and wealth 1968- 2005 6. The maps looks very different when you give everyone equal space Notice how in the 1990s almost everywhere the proportion of households that were poor rose, but most where highest to begin with so fear rises. 7. For sources see: The Geography of Poverty, Inequality and Wealth in the UK and abroad: because enough is never enough,Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy , 3, 2-3, pp 81-106. and also for the source of data for the next figure:Subjective well-being of young people, an OECD overview, Innocenti ReportWe ended up at or near the bottom of many league tables as a result all before the crash 8. 22 ndout of the 25+1 EU countries before the crash for child poverty as measured by the European standard We are cutting back on transfers, starting with the 165 maternity grant. 9. Greater London parliamentary constituencies Core Poorcartogram of Greater London parliamentary constituencies Exclusive Wealthycartogram of Greater London parliamentary constituencies We live in different spaces, especially the very rich who are most dislocated from society 10. Londons place in the world economy where cities orbit global capital . As viewed from Houston We are trapped in thinking that London can only survive as New Yorks twin star 11. In June 2010 we learn the councils to be cut the (%) most are: Doncaster Redcar & Cleveland Liverpool Knowsley Middlesbrough St Helens Blackpool South Tyneside North East Lincolnshire Blackburn with Darwen (and Sheffield singled out for cruel and unusual cuts) In April 2010 we learn that Gordon wanted to help people: Duffy : but all these eastern Europeans coming in, where are they flocking from?Brown :A million people come in from Europe, but a million British people have gone into Europe, you do know theres a lot of British people staying in Europe as well. So education, health and helping people, thats what Im about.The Times, 28/4/2010.And: The ten councils to be cut the least are: City of London Ealing Redbridge Dudley(the only error?) Barnet Harrow Brent Havering Wandsworth Bexley We will undertake the most vindicate of disproportionate cuts to protect the status quo 12. Then came the spending review

  • October 20 th2010 we were told how savings would be made:
  • One of the first announcements was that new tenants of council and other social housing will now have to pay at least 80 percent of market prices in rent. In one stroke millions of low paid families are to be excluded from living in hundreds of towns, cities and villages where they no longer earn enough to deserve to be.
  • There are many threats being made to have to take any job or be made to volunteer for no pay.

We think there is no alternative 13. And then came more and more questions and doubt

  • Housing benefit will not be paid for people under the age of 35 who live alonethis previously applied only to those under 25.
  • There would be a 10 percent cut in council tax benefit for those who cannot afford to live in certain areas.
  • The immediate question asked was: Are the few remaining people living on modest incomes near affluent suburbs or in economically successful towns and villagesto be cleansed away?

We think we are not up to doing anything better than this 14. Even the mayor of London spoke up against his party

  • The best-off fifth of society will lose just 1 percent of their entitlements to public services and spending, the lowest losses of any group.
  • A million people currently on employment and support allowance due to ill health will each lose 2,000 a year if they cannot find a job.
  • With the state pension age rising rapidly to 66 years, only those with private provision can now retire at the normal age. Public sector pensioners will have 1.8 billion removed from them by 2014-15. Pension credits will be frozen for three years.

The we who think this are a small minority 15. It could be the greatest threat to health inequalities

  • No family on benefits is to receive more than the income of an average family in work, no matter what the circumstances of their children. If you are pooror are made poor when you lose your job or have a pay cut forced on youand have three or more children, you may need to leave your town for a new life in a cheaper area, away from where the remaining well paid work is.
  • People with worse health will have to move to poorer areas.
  • This is a recipe to increase inequalities between areas as fast as possible. I think it makes everyone worse off, so is in the saddest sense fair, but only in its likely stupidity of outcome.

We think the price has to be paid 16. Conclusion keep asking why are 16 or 20 countries better?

  • Everyone is worse off because there is less social solidarity, more fear:
  • The latest UN report lists those European countries currently having a higher life expectancy than the UK as: Iceland (almost 82 years), Switzerland, Italy, France (81 years), Sweden, Spain, Norway, Austria (to almost 80 years), the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Finland, Belgium and Luxembourg. People also live for longer than in Britain in Australia, Canada and New Zealand (and especially Japan), but not in the United States (where comparable life expectancy is only 79.1 years)

Of the richest 25 nations in the world the UK is the 4 thmost unequal by income inequality (90:10 ratio UNDP figures). We think we are held hostage to the bond markets 17. Conclusion keep asking why are we slipping down league tables of decency?

  • Life expectancy is up in the UK, but increased economic inequality here would be expected to move our rank position below one of these four countries next, to slip from 20 thplace to 21 stor 22 ndout of 25.
  • If that happens then there will be falls in life expectancy in some areas.
  • we have just moved below Greece, and the cuts there are far more equitable than here (salaries cut rather than jobsand mostly benefits going)
  • People do live slightly shorter lives now in Greece (but not by 2010 EU data),
  • Portugal (more economically unequal than the UK),
  • Denmark (where smoking is still very common) and in
  • Slovenia (78.2 years).
  • All these figures are from Table H of the most recent UNDP human development report (2009) and purport to be for around the year 2007.

We think all this damage is just collateral damage that comes with success 18. Our murder rate is again at Victorian levels,as is the life expectancy gap between areas. Material conditions might be much better but often our mental health, fear and anxiety is worse.We know we are not all in it together. We could be. And we put the young in debt 19. See this and other talks as multimedia versions at http:// /presentations/