Cameron’s embarrassing slip-up reveals how much he loves the growing gap between rich and poor (VIDEO, TWEETS)

Support us and go ad-free

Is the quest for equality in Britain in safe hands? Well David Cameron seemed to suggest it isn’t during 2016’s first prime minister’s questions when he made the following Freudian slip:

since I’ve become prime minister, income equality has actually fallen

With this error, it seemed Cameron’s obsession with the non-issue of the shadow cabinet reshuffle was beginning to produce mistakes elsewhere in his rhetoric. Or perhaps Jeremy Corbyn’s civilised technique of focussing on the important issues while snubbing Cameron’s immature attacks had knocked the prime minister off balance.

Either way, Twitter users quickly picked up on what they perceived as the prime minister’s accidental honesty:

The slip came in response to a question about FTSE100 CEOs apparently receiving more money in the first two working days of 2016 than an average worker will earn in the entire year.

So what’s the truth about income inequality in the UK?

The reality is that the UK currently has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). But this is nothing new, insists Mikey Smith at The Mirror:

The level of income inequality in the UK has been way above the average level in the OECD for the last three decades

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the 1980s saw a large increase in income inequality. In recent years, it says, “the trend has been broadly flat”. This means Cameron’s time in power has made very little difference to income inequality statistics.

Comparing the wages of the top 1% and everyone else in the UK, meanwhile, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures reveal that:

inequality has been rising almost consistently since the 1980s

And any slight reductions in income inequality recently, the institute suggests, “could prove temporary” if the correct action is not taken. Even the government’s own Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has suggested big steps will be needed to deal with inequality in an effective way. A report in December 2015 asserted that there was a “growing social divide by income and by class” and a “growing unease about the lack of fairness in our society”. Far from looking positive, it said:

If the trends of recent decades continue, we will become a society that is ever more divided

Cameron and co are failing to address rising inequality

So the current Conservative regime is doing little to address the massive issue of inequality in the UK. To be fair, New Labour did no better, leaving power as it did with “a similar or a slightly higher level of inequality” according to Full Fact. But Cameron should not be let off the hook.

The prime minister is clearly failing to address the worrying gap between the highest earners and lowest earners in society. And on top of this, says The Huffington Post’s Ioan Marc Jones, his government is “actively promoting policies that have inevitably increased inequality”.

According to IFS director Paul Johnson, chancellor George Osborne’s austerity measures will leave almost three million working families “an average of £1,600 a year worse off”. And this at a time when Osborne has overspent by billions, allowed some of the world’s biggest investment banks to pay little or no corporation tax, and privatised £37.7bn of public assets.

Furthermore, the government’s policies have already had a negative impact on the wealth gap in the UK. In December 2015, the ONS released figures showing that, in the period between 2012 and 2014, the top 10% of earners owned around 45% of the total household wealth in the UK. This figure had increased since 2010. The least wealthy 50% of the population, meanwhile, owned around 9% per cent of total UK household wealth. This had decreased since 2010. The new state of affairs was summarised in the following ONS diagram:

Overall, it is clear that David Cameron’s government serves the interests of the small number of people in the UK who are already wealthy, while punishing the majority of working citizens. And instead of truly addressing the problems suffered by people across the country, the prime minister still focusses his efforts on insulting his opponents and avoiding their important political questions. In this environment, we are left to assume that the prime minister is simply unable to defend his party’s record on the basis of facts alone.

Featured image via YouTube/liarpoliticians

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed