Anti-poverty charity Oxfam has said that the UK is one of the most unequal nations in the developed world. It explained that the total wealth of the richest 1% of the UK population was more than 20 times that of the poorest fifth.
According to Oxfam's analysis, about 634,000 of the UK's richest people owned property, pensions and shares that were together worth 20 times the assets owned by the country's poorest 13 million people in the country. The analysis is said to be based on data from Credit Suisse, which showed that the richest 10% of the UK population owned more than 50% of the country's total wealth.
Oxfam went on to say that it was likely that this inequality in the UK played a contributing factor in the vote to leave the European Union. "The UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world. Three decades of high-level inequality have had a profound impact, leading many people to believe that they have little stake in society and to feel locked out of politics and economic opportunity.
"Whatever your views on Brexit, the referendum brought divisions within our country to a head, with many people expressing distrust and disconnection with political processes and voting for change in the hope that it would improve their economic position," the Oxfam report said.
Using this analysis, Oxfam urged Prime Minister Theresa May to take steps that would help close the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots". While the charity welcomed May's recognition of the need to bring in reforms in the corporate culture, it went on to suggest a four-point action plan for her to implement.
These include, fulfilling her earlier pledge to give workers more representation on the boards of companies, providing incentives to firms that improve the skill sets of their staff, ensuring that the highest-paid person in a company earns not more than 20 times the salary of the lowest-paid employee, tackling corporate tax avoidance and ending UK-linked tax havens.
A government spokesman as cited by the Independent said, "Work is the best route out of poverty and since 2010 we've made real progress: 2.7 million more people in our country have a job, we've given a pay rise to a million of the lowest paid with the National Living Wage — and we've overhauled the welfare system so it pays to work rather than claim benefits. ...With Theresa May as prime minister, we will do what is needed to keep our economy strong and build a country that works for all of us, not just the privileged few."