Inequality ‘costs UK £39 billion a year’

The social and economic impact of inequality costs the UK the equivalent of over £39 billion every year, according to new calculations from the Equality Trust.

If inequality were reduced to the average level seen in other developed countries, the Trust says, the UK could expect to make significant savings through reduced ill-health and other social problems.

Key points

  • If UK inequality were lowered to the OECD average, average healthy life expectancy could be increased by 8½ months, at a saving of £12.5 billion a year.
  • Mental health illness rates could be cut by 5 per cent, at a value of £25 billion.
  • Imprisonment rates could be reduced by 37 per cent, saving £1 billion.
  • Murder rates could be cut by 33 per cent, at a value to society of £678 million.
  • The total cost of dealing with social issues associated with the UK’s high inequality is estimated at £39.3 billion a year. If this were broken down to an individual level, the impact of inequality on every man, woman and child is the equivalent of £622.

Duncan Exley, Director of the Equality Trust, said: 'It can no longer be argued that inequality is harmless, or worse, that it is desirable. The cost of dealing with its effects is astronomical... We therefore call on all political parties to commit to an Inequality Test; to include in their manifestos an explicit goal that the net impact of their policies will be to reduce the gap between the richest and the rest'.

SourceThe Cost of Inequality, Equality Trust
LinksReport | Equality Trust press release | Guardian report | New Statesman report



Publication date: 
Mar 14 2014