Income inequality: Where do you stand?

Are you in the 99% or the 1%?  Should discussing how much we are paid remain a social taboo?

Writing in last Sunday’s Independent On Sunday, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, called for the Government to stand by its pledge to level out inequality in Britain – and has said that income inequality and youth unemployment are giants that must be “slayed”.

Due to the courageous blogs of folk like Fashionista and Diary of a Benefits Scrounger, it is now possible to read graphic accounts of what it is like to struggle to make ends meet at the ‘bottom.’

But, according to Sarah Castells, of opinion pollsters Mori, the picture at the top is somewhat different.  In fact “a culture of secrecy over executive pay is holding back attempts to tackle inequality.”

To shed more light on this, the High Pay Commission, an independent inquiry into top pay in the private sector, commissioned Ipsos MORI to talk to a group of top earners – people in the top 1 per cent of the UK’s income distribution. The research shows that the taboo around discussing your pay inhibits rational debate on the subject and distorts the way top earners see their salaries.

With this in mind, the Resolution Foundation have recently developed an excellent interactive on-line tool to show you just how far up (or down) the UK income scales you are…

Discover how UK income is spread out and where you stand economically in relation to other UK households. You can interactively see the impact of having a larger or smaller household, and compare alternative scenarios with your own

Complete the form with data about your household to see where you stand in relation to others in the UK.

Have a go, and let me know what you think….

2 thoughts on “Income inequality: Where do you stand?

  1. Hi, Niall!
    Could be that a lot of people, me included, feel ashamed and don’t know what to do about it. So they don’t look themselves in the eye when it comes to talking about money, let alone look other people in the eye.

    If you fill your life, with work (whether paid, intellectual, unpaid caring or volunteering) you can start to feel justified, at least to yourself, through that alone.

    What you can’t justify however is your comparative wealth, when you see that other people who work harder and longer are paid less for what they do, compared with whatever you may be doing by your own choice and possibly in your ‘own’ time. And I realise that much unpaid caring is not a choice, but even so some wealthier people can cope with it in a more ‘comfortable’ way than others.

    I’m speaking as a senior citizen of course.

    I do realise that means-testing for senior citizens is not a popular idea. Nor is enforced redistribution of housing. But if we could get away from the widespread idea that senior citizens are such a special group that no normal rules apply to them, in the long run everyone in society might benefit. (See Mary Midgley’s article in today’s ‘Guardian’ – how did you guess?)

    Mary Midgley speaks of ‘two tribes’, the fully employed, thought to be the very fortunate, but sometimes working in a ‘kind of opulent slavery’ and the (supposed to be) ‘altogether past it’.

    She suggests we need to move on from these divisions.

    Already our society’s clearly showing disenchantment with youth, and conversations about children and young people seem to be no longer full of hope but show signs of fear and anxiety (‘We need to talk about Kevin?’)

    Age seems to be equally terrifying and needs to be buried quickly, first under face creams, then in ‘Homes’ and then literally, at enormous expense of course. But a good reason at last! for a Celebration of life…

    Wasn’t there a phrase once that we all knew by heart, ‘from the cradle to the grave?’ Wasn’t there a presumption that a fair society meant that everyone could make a contribution and that there should be proportion in those contributions? Why are we expecting that one section of society, those of ‘working age’ can bear the strain, regardless of whether they can cope or not? And in particular, why are we expecting the lowest paid in that age group to bear the biggest burden of all in relation to their incomes?

    It’s in vain talking about ‘Equalities’ if in fact the whole of our society is structured round acceptance that we’re all better off if some people are lots better off. That is a mediaeval idea! As well as being logically unacceptable..

    Let’s ask those who can’t look themselves in the eye but have more than sufficient means and property, to share work opportunities with other people. Trust other people, mentor other people, take a risk (hey!) with other people. Humane investment. And no enjoying saying ‘You’re fired!’either – it’s not funny.

    Frances Ballin

  2. Dear Niall
    Thank you. This is a powerful tool. And its main accomplishment as far as I am concerned tonight is to remind me how disenfranchised I feel. I’m in the top 2%. I would dearly dearly love to vote for a party that would tax me and my family equitably, and redistributive the resources, via a proper welfare, education and health system. Is there a mainstream political party in the UK that stands for that? Not one that I’ve seen,

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