In response to the ONS’s recent statistical report on Family Spending the Equality Trust has constructed their own report from the figures, comparing the spending habits of Britain’s highest and lowest owners. The stark contrasts paint a picture of a country divided, in which luxury and excess on the one hand continue in the face of poverty and want on the other.
The Equality Trust’s figures show that, based on the ONS’s statistics:
- The richest 10% spend more on eating at restaurants and having drinks out than the poor spend on housing, fuel and power.
- The richest 10% spend more on wine per week than the poorest 10% spend on their water bills.
- The richest 10% spends as much on alcohol and tobacco each week as the poorest 10% spends on their gas and electricity bills.
- The richest 10% spend more on their pets than a family in the poorest 10% spends on clothing and footwear.
The statistics come hot on the heels of a recent report by the Resolution Foundation, warning that the UK is facing a return to levels of inequality not seen since the days of Margaret Thatcher. Both reports have been brought into sharp relief by the Prime Minister’s promises to help ‘just about managing’ households.
“Ordinary people are working hard, budgeting, and making difficult decisions about whether to heat their houses or feed their children, and they are still struggling. It’s hard to criticise the poor as wasteful when the richest are spending more on their pets than poor people spend on clothing their families.
“Such deep inequality is a national scandal in a modern, wealthy country like ours. The Government needs to back up its fine words with action, starting by allowing hard-pressed families on Universal Credit to keep more of the money they earn.”