Gap Between Rich And Poor Narrowed

The gap in wealth between the rich and poor has narrowed in the UK since 2000, according to a new report from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The head of the OECD's social policy division, Mark Pearson, said that reductions in inequality in Britain had been "remarkable". The decline had been the fastest out of the OECD's 30 members who make up the richest and most developed countries.

However the report describes a so-called "Hello magazine effect" which makes people who read about the lifestyles of the super-rich who seem to be getting richer believe there has been an increase in inequality with the result in people feeling worse off.

The report which covers the two decades up to 2005, found the wealth gap widened in the UK in the mid 80's and 90's as it did in most other developed countries.

Mark Pearson, who wrote the report, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the gap stopped widening from the year 2000: "It is really quite a remarkable reduction since then - the largest fall in all developed countries, at a time when inequality has been rising in most developed countries."

However, Mr Pearson said the narrowing of the gap appeared to be flattening off since 2005, he warned that the increase in equality and poverty may rise as we are entering a recession.


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