Britain is unequal and deeply divided, says new report

By staff writers
11 Oct 2010

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is today publishing a 700 page report that shows Britain to be a deeply divided country.

The most comprehensive report on UK inequality ever published, 'How Fair is Britain?' charts the divergence of life chances from birth through to retirement - illustrating that the gulf in opportunity and outcomes is widening not narrowing.

The report reveals that disabled children are more likely to be bullied, that pay disparity between men and women continues to be a major problem, and that boys are underperforming academically.

Social class is highlighted as a key characteristic influencing measurable outcomes in health, educational attainment, and prosperity as it is passed down the generations.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report shows that in this and many other ways, long-standing inequalities remain undiminished while new social and economic fault lines are emerging.

EHRC Chairman Trevor Phillips commented: "Inequality and disadvantage don't come neatly packaged in parcels marked age, or disability, or gender, or race. They emerge often as a subset of a strand - not as a disability issue, but as a mental health issue; not as a generalised ethnic penalty, but as a result of being Pakistani; not a pay gap for working women, but a pay gap for working mothers."

EHRC researchers discovered that men and women from the highest social class can expect to live up to seven years longer than those from lower socio-economic groups.

The report also identifies five critical 'gateways to opportunity' which the Commission says make a key difference between success and failure in life for millions of citizens.

These gateways are health and well-being, education, work and wealth, security and autonomy.

In a speech today, Mr Philips will argue that while significant strides have been made in promoting equality and combatting prejudice in recent years, a great deal of work remains to be done - and politicians must make the struggle against growing inequality a priority.

Read the report and summaries here: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/key-projects/triennial-review/

[Ekk/3]

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