Inequality: bad for our health?

New figures from the Office of National Statistics report that London’s children are the most deprived in the UK.

One in four London children is growing up in poverty, and we already know that for Islington it’s nearer half all children.

The growing gap between rich and poor is not only a terrible failure by the Labour government; it makes society more stressed, less healthy, trusting and secure, than societies where wealth is more equitably distributed. Although it’s arguable that redistribution is the consequence, rather than the cause, of a happier society.

In the midst of this, an invitation arrives from the Rev Chris Brice in Gospel Oak (what a great name for a parish!):

Professor Richard Wilkinson acclaimed author of: “The Spirit Level – why more equal societies almost always do better”

Is speaking in London On: July 5th At: 6pm at St Martins Church Gospel Oak NW5 4NL

Followed by a Question and Answer Session after his talk


Come and hear about the pernicious consequences on millions of UK citizens of Britain being one of the most economically unequal countries amongst the 23 richest democracies.

Prof Wilkinson has carried out a number of studies on the effects on inequality on health, and the links between inequality and racism – highly topical given the rise of the BNP. It is, after all, just a short train ride from Gospel Oak to Barking.

Gross and growing inequality is certainly bad for society’s health. That’s not to say it’s avoidable. Like sugar or sunlight, it’s excess that’s bad for us. I don’t believe total equality is achievable – and certainly not by means that are acceptable to liberals (or Liberals).

Liberal Democrats are pledged to fight poverty, ignorance and conformity, not inequality per se. But the extremes of rich and poor, and the growing gap between rich and poor, both globally and within communities, undermine the conditions in which liberalism can flourish and breed intolerance. To quote Barack Obama, money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.


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