The gap between rich and poor in the UK is as wide as it has been for forty years, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has said in a report.
The JRF found that households in already wealthy areas had become “disproportionately” richer compared to society as a whole.
But the number of “poor” households has risen over the past 15 years.
Since the 1980s, wealthier people have moved to the suburbs while the poor remain in inner cities, the JRF added.
Looking at wealth patterns over the past four decades, the JRF found that the gap between rich and poor actually narrowed in the 1970s.
But during the 1980s and 1990s inequality had increased as a “polarisation” in British society had occurred.
Britain has the second highest child death rate among the 24 richest countries in the world, with infants in the UK twice as likely to die before the age of five as children in Sweden, a study has shown.
The researchers, from Dundee University, who link relatively high infant mortality with income inequality, found that in the UK the gap between the haves and the have-nots was the third biggest among the 24 countries. They calculated that the top 20 per cent of people in the UK have more than 2.5 times the income of the bottom 40 per cent, almost double the difference in Japan.
Their work, which is reported this week in the Journal of Public Health, analysed Unicef data on child mortality and income inequality. The study comes 14 years after the UK and other “Anglo-American” rich countries were strongly criticised in a Unicef study on child neglect in wealthy nations. That study did not report on child death rates but at that time the UK ranked 15th for child mortality;the new research shows it has now dropped to joint 22nd, just above the US.