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Rich and poor are like chalk and cheese as wealth gap widens

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A new report has found that the gap between rich and poor is as wide as it has been for 40 years, with different economic groups living apart from each other.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) discovered that households in existing wealthy areas had become ‘disproportionately richer’ compared with society as a whole, with the number of poor households has risen over the past 15 years.

The wealthiest households are mainly to be found in suburban pockets of south east England, although there are also significantly rich areas in the south west, Cheshire, parts of Northern Ireland (because of the boom in property prices) and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, a separate report undertaken by the JRF into public attitudes to wealth found discomfort about the huge inequality in rewards accorded to different occupations.

The report’s author, Michael Orton, said: “There is widespread acceptance that some occupations should be paid more than others: but the gap between high and low paid occupations is far greater than people think it should be.”

ED’S COMMENT: The JRF has come up with another well-researched report but I can’t muster much surprise at its findings. I live in a fairly affluent part of Essex now and although many of us came from pretty down-to-earth London backgrounds (usually in the East End) none of us would willingly run back to the site of those, where the poorest now live. What’s probably most important is that people in the latter areas get the same chances we had (via a good education for the most part) to make it out to the sticks and enjoy a better life.



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