That’s Rich: EU Report Slams UK For Having Too Many Wealthy People

Patrick Seeger / AFP
Patrick Seeger / AFP

A paper reporting on the ‘recent developments in the distribution of wages in Europe’ has singled out Britain for providing a home to too many rich people.

The report claimed that wage inequality in the United Kingdom, measured with the controversial Gini coefficient, was the worst in Europe, and now even more pronounced than the United States.

Noting that the gap in income between the richest and poorest was levelling out accross Europe as Eastern Europe caught up with the rest of the continent, the report author expressed regret the concentration of wealthy individuals in Britain, and London in particular, messed up the European figures. It stated the overall results for Europe: “was to a large extent driven by developments in the UK, without which the overall EU within-country component of inequality remained more or less stable”.

As a comparative haven of stability and state non-intervention over the past five years, the United Kingdom has proven a popular destination for high net-worth individuals, and large corporations seeking to relocate to London.

Then prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously lampooned the Gini Coefficient in 1990 in a colourful display of House of Commons sparring, when she criticised it for measuring only the gap between the rich and poor in relative terms, rather than the actual conditions of the poorest in real terms.

You can watch her famous put-down, “What a policy. Yes, he would rather have the poor poorer, provided that the rich were less rich… so long as the [Gini Coefficient] gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer” here: