Rich Scots creating country’s “inequality crisis”

Sir-ian-wood

Sir Ian Wood

Unequal wealth distribution is creating chasms in society warns charity 

23rd January 2018 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Just 1% of Scots have more wealth than the bottom 50% combined.

A new report from Oxfam has revealed 82% of wealth generated across the world last year went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half saw their wealth flatline.

In Scotland, the 10 richest families or individuals were last year estimated to have a combined wealth of £14.7 billion.

Oil industry leader Sir Ian Wood and family are said to be worth £1.6bn and the Thomson family, owners of publisher DC Thomson, £1.28bn.

Meanwhile, around 430,000 Scots were paid less than the living wage of £8.45 per hour last year, with women outnumbering men by about 100,000.

And more than one quarter of a million Scots children – working out at one in four – are officially recognised as living in poverty.

Dr Katherine Trebeck, Oxfam’s Glasgow-based senior researcher, said inequality is also being felt in Scotland.

“This isn’t a faraway crisis,” she said. “It’s grimly apparent that the inequality crisis is out of control. The economic system is set up in a way that enables a wealthy elite to accumulate vast wealth at the expense of hundreds of millions of people who are scraping a living on poverty pay.”

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, added: “Something is very wrong with a global economy that allows the one percent to enjoy the lion’s share of increases in wealth while the poorest half of humanity miss out. The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food.

“The world has made huge strides forward in ending poverty but progress could be even faster if we did more to break down the barriers that are holding back the world’s poorest people.

"For work to be a genuine route out of poverty we need to ensure that ordinary workers receive a living wage and can insist on decent conditions, and that women are not discriminated against.

"If that means less for the already wealthy then that is a price that we – and they – should be willing to pay.”

24th January 2018 by Rose Burn

A few points. Anyone on minimum wage in the UK is in the top 10 percent of incomes around the world. It is for the Scottish government to legislate against firms which pay less than the minimum wage. In the past 30 years the economic development of China, India and other large emerging economies has dramatically reduced the percentage of people in the world living in absolute poverty, now under 10 percent versus 35 percent in 1990. Lastly, the wealth of the rich eg Gates and Buffet is being recycled through their charitable foundations - what you do with your money is more important than how much you have. The parable of the talents in the Bible comes to mind.