Money Wellness
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calendar icon11 Dec 2023

Britain – the growing divide between the haves and have nots

The UK is in danger of sliding back into a country of two halves – those that have and those that don’t – not seen since the Victorian era - as the gulf between main stream society and a depressed and poverty-stricken underclass widens, according to a new report.

Commissioned by the think tank, The Centre for Social Justice, the Two Nations: The State of Poverty in the UK, shows that the most disadvantaged are no better off than 15 years ago and that the jump from welfare into work isn’t worth it for most people.

The study also finds that the pandemic lockdowns had a much worse effect on those who are less well off, which is where the gap between the so-called ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ was blown wide apart.

Six in ten of the general public say that their area has a good quality of life – plummeting to less than two in five in the most deprived areas.

Post-Covid, Children are having a particularly hard time. Twenty years ago, just one in nine children were assessed as having a clinically recognised mental health problem. But that figure is now one in five, rising to nearly one in four for those aged 17-19.

If this trend continues, the report argues that by 2030 over one in four 5–15-year-olds – which could be as many as 2.3 million children – could have a mental disorder. There are likely to be 208 per cent more boys with mental health disorders by 2030 than there would have been if the lockdown hadn’t happened.

Mental health was a particular worry for those living in deprived areas. After higher benefits, they cited improved mental and physical health as pivotal to a better life. The report found that 40 per cent of the most disadvantaged having a mental health condition compared to just 13 per cent of the general population.

The report spoke to 6,000 people – 3,000 from the general public and 3,000 on the lowest income. It also heard from over 350 small charities, social enterprises, and policy experts, and travelled to three nations and more than 20 towns and cities.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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