Martha Wardrop: Wealth inequality scars our society

view original post

Martha Wardrop: Wealth inequality scars our society

We can choose to support a local economy focused on equality, in which nobody lives in poverty, and neither does anyone live with unimaginable billionaire wealth.

In the last two decades, we have seen the fortunes of the super-rich increase across the globe.

The Covid-19 pandemic has widened the wealth gaps. The richest 10% now own three quarters of all wealth. There has been a visible failure of many business executives to rein in obscene salaries and it appears that executive pay is out of control.

Growing disparity in wealth between the richest and the poorest can be observed across all developed nations, but the pay gap in the United States and to a lesser extent the UK, are particularly acute.

The provision of share options as part of executive compensation is one reason for this difference. Wealth creation appears to benefit the elite few.

At the same time, the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest 10% in Glasgow has widened by three years, according to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH). This was the case for both men and women between 2000-2019.

These wealth inequalities contribute to unsustainable economic growth and perpetuate inequalities in education and employment across our communities. We know that the extreme boom in the wealth of billionaires is not the sign of a healthy economy.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but we’ve all been let down by an unjust UK and Scottish tax system.

The current, failed approach raises inadequate funds for vital local public services while simultaneously allowing the rich to avoid taxation and take generated wealth offshore.

This is highlighted by this week’s announcement of record billions of pounds in part year profits by Shell and Centrica.

The UK Government is letting these energy companies channel their profits to shareholders when there is a significant concern that even more people will freeze to death this winter due to increased fuel bills.

We need comprehensive measures to collect these record profits through additional taxation, and then use this money to help households pay their bills.

The Scottish Greens believe in well-funded local public services and are committed to a taxation system that raises revenue fairly and addresses the profound economic inequalities that scar our society.

Scotland is an energy-rich nation, with masses of cheap renewable energy waiting to be tapped. We have the technology and financial tools needed to create a greener world, which can boost our local economy and city’s resilience.

Promoting investment in renewable energy is part of vital global action to fight climate change. By directly reducing carbon emissions, renewable energy projects also provide long-term benefits through provision of reliable, low-cost electricity to residents and businesses.

We also need investment in renewable energy supply chains that can develop Glasgow and the wider Scotland economy’s industrial base and support its workers and communities to access good quality jobs.

We can put the transition to a renewable economy in Scotland’s hands by becoming an independent European country.

Related Posts