British: rich and poor

Speaking today at the Liberal Democrat Annual Conference, Business Secretary Vince Cable did not mention the row over retention of a top rate of tax of 50% but did say:

“What Liberal Democrats should focus on are the vast disparities in wealth – much of it in inflated property and land prices artificially generated by the boom of the last decade. When some critics attack our party policy of a tax on properties over £2 million by saying it is an attack on ordinary middle class owners, you wonder what part of the solar system they live in.”

In fact, Britain has one of the most unequal societies in terms of income and wealth of any developed country as was made abundantly clear in the seminal work of two years ago “The Spirit Level” [see my review here]. Arising from publication of that book, the Equality Trust was established to put the case for reduced inequality in the UK.

Today I visited the Equality Trust’s offices in central London and met three of its leading lights:  Professor Richard Wilkinson, one of the authors of “The Spirit Level”, Kathryn Busby, Policy & Campaigns Manager, and Bill Kerry, Supporter & Local Groups Manager. At this time of financial crisis, there is a desperate need for new ideas on how to redistribute income, wealth and power in our society to make it fairer and happier for all.


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