Benefit tales

Thinktank puts a figure on the annual cost of the gap between rich and poor and calls for politicians to act

The ever-increasing gulf between rich and poor in Britain is costing the economy more than £39bn a year, according to a report by the Equality Trust thinktank. The effects of inequality can be measured in financial terms through its impact on health, wellbeing and crime rates, according to statisticians at the independent campaign group.

Researchers pointed to the fact that the 100 wealthiest people in the UK have as much money as the poorest 18 million – 30% of all people – and said that the consequences of such unusually high rates of inequality needed to be acknowledged by politicians.

Duncan Exley, the trust’s chief executive, said economists in the US had begun taking the issue seriously but that the UK was behind the curve in understanding the…

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