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SNP reveal figures show UK has worst inequality in north west Europe

The UK has had the worst inequality of any country in north west Europe for every year where figures are available in the 21st century, new research has shown.

The analysis from the House of Commons Library reveals that countries with populations similar to, or smaller than, Scotland are on average far better than the UK.

Alison Thewliss, the SNP Treasury spokeswoman who uncovered the data, claimed that the analysis showed “independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts”.

Five countries with populations similar or smaller to Scotland, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, sat higher in the table of equality than the UK.

The Commons research, using the so-called Gini coefficient of proportions of the population against proportions of income they receive, is confirmed the findings of previous studies.

A a 2016 report by Oxfam, which found the accumulated wealth of Britain’s richest one per cent is more than 20 times the total of the poorest fifth, and concluded “the UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world”.

In May, an IPPR report revealed the poverty rate among working households in the UK has reached a record high this century – with an increase in relative poverty from 13 per cent of working households in 1996 to 17.4 per cent in March 2020.

The report revealed the situation has steadily deteriorated since the Tories came to power in 2010, with one in six working households now living in poverty.

Thewliss listed Tory plans for a return to austerity cuts, including slashing Universal Credit payments by £1040 a year from October and imposing a public sector pay freeze, as moved that would entrench poverty and inequality across the UK.

She said: “The UK is already one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and Tory austerity cuts will entrench poverty and inequality even further.”

“Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control. It’s clear that independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and build a strong, fair and equal recovery.”

She added: “The evidence shows that independent countries of Scotland’s size, or smaller, are consistently more equal than the UK. By becoming an independent country, with full powers over employment, social security and the economy, Scotland can be more successful and better off – just like our European neighbours.”



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