Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Higher Equality Something to be Proud Of
‘Ageing, health and wealth – the differences across the UK,’ produced by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently gave several reasons to be cheerful for those of us living and working in Wales. Levels of inequality are lower here than anywhere else in the UK. Not only has Wales the lowest variation in household income in the UK, but it has seen the greatest increase in average income; rising 16% over the three-year period between 2004/05.
Some other facets of the report show there is more work to be done; for example, far too many children that are brought up in jobless households.
Good news overall? Not for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). David Rosser, the director of the CBI in Wales, said that this report provides evidence that Wales needs to attract more entrepreneurs and people with higher salaries. Mr Rosser was joined by along with JoJo Maman Bébé founder Laura Tenison in using the report as evidence that Wales needs more super rich people.
Living in a country where equality is greater than anywhere else in the UK should not be derided. Do families struggling to make ends meet in inner city areas such as Bethnal Green or Canning Town feel blessed that the region in which they live has such a high concentration of high earners? Its doubtful.
I'm not sure why the thoughts of the CBI were given such prominence in the Western Mail’s front page story on the ONS report with the headline 'Lack of Top Earners Holding Wales Back.' As the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggested much further down in the report, Wales does have bigger worries than a dearth of super-rich business men and women.