Thursday, September 01, 2005

Long term inequality

"Despite 60 years of the welfare state" social, economic and geographical inequalities are still firmly entrenched according to a report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. If the welfare state has achieved nothing, maybe it should be dismantled or has it even increased inequality by rewarding economic failure?

One million households in the UK have no access to a car despite having children whilst 10% of wealthier people in certain areas have more than one car each! No doubt the researchers would prefer the wealthier individuals to be taxed more so that the 'needier' families can each be given a car. However, if families cannot afford a car, how can they afford children without relying on welfare?

What the researchers fail to understand is that you will always have pockets of poverty and wealth within any country or region. No amount of wealth redistribution will ever overcome such inequalities. I am yet to meet a single person whose aspirations are to live on a council estate. However, many people want to leave them though, some work hard and do achieve their goal. David Davis happily describes his humble background on a council estate but I bet he left as soon as he could. Others who rely on the welfare state for their income will never move. Market pressures force people on lower incomes to live in cheaper and less desirable areas, otherwise house prices would be higher!

Are the researchers doing their bit to reduce inequality by living in poor areas or are they 'victims' of the system living in middle class areas offering the benefits of ready access to good schooling and healthcare whilst crime rates are low? Few Liberal Democrat or Labour 'luvvies' ever do.

The country will never "become more equal" whilst there are opportunities to excel that some people take and others ignore.

5 comments:

Gavin Ayling said...

A meritocracy positively has to have 'haves' and 'have-nots' to be functioning.

Blue Witch said...

"One million households in the UK have no access to a car despite having children whilst 10% of wealthier people in certain areas have more than one car each!"

Families living in areas of good public transport (large towns and cities - which account for a large proportion of the country's population) don't need a car.

Families of more than one person living in rural areas with no public transport have to have more than one vehicle in order to survive. And are taxed hideously for the privilege.

lascivious said...

"Families living in areas of good public transport (large towns and cities - which account for a large proportion of the country's population) don't need a car."

They may not need a car, but life is a lot easier with one. For example, whilst I live in a rural area I have good rail connections, with 4 direct trains to London per day (I live 7 hours from London, and given hte population density, that is a good service).

I recently went on a journey with my family and it would have cost triple us all to go on the train compared with driving and then there is the inconvenience of carrying all those bags. And don't forget the drunk squadies, smelly dogs, noisy children, football fans and disgusting toilets. And the overly unionised and downright unhelpful staff. Oh, and don't forget the chewing gum on the seats.

p.s snafu - I am back :) Having a baby coincided with my server melting and I have only just found the time to order the parts and fix it! In fact, this is the first time I have read someones blog in 2 months!

Snafu said...

Lascivious, welcome back!! I thought you had moved to Switzerland. Sounds like you've been busy in the mean time though!

I'll add you to my blogroll again:)

lascivious said...

Thanks.

I still might be moving to Switzerland - I am going out there in a few days to 'discuss' a position. I was not willing to do anything about it sooner because of everything that has been happening over the last few months!

Whatever happens, we will be moving in the next few months. A 2 bed flat just isn't big enough!