Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has warned against normalising the large wealth gap in the UK.
Leading a debate on UK Income Inequality in the Scottish Parliament today [Thursday 9th February], Ms Roddick highlighted the findings of recent analysis by the Financial Times which investigated the standard of living of the worst-off in the UK, and the wealth gap between them and the richest, compared to other countries.
The Highlands and Islands MSP pointed to the large wealth gap in the UK, stating that it should not be normalised and that there are alternative ways forward for Scotland.
“The Financial Times analysis last year described the UK as a ‘poor society with some very rich people in it.’ This is the hard truth: we live in an extremely unequal country where half of the people living here own only 9% of the wealth.
“We have been told for too long that this huge gap is a necessary side effect of having a healthy economy. This is simply not true – we do not even have a healthy economy. Conservative, capitalist policies have resulted in not only the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, but also the UK becoming the only country in the G7 forecast to have negative growth.
“We should not be under any illusion that the economic state of this country is in any way normal when we have seen countries in Europe use their independence to achieve a fairer society as well economic success.
“Scotland does not need to continue down this path. The Scottish Government’s Building a New Scotland papers set out a path for Scotland, one which follows the lead of our neighbours in Europe who have built fairer, more equal societies where kids don’t grow up hungry and in poverty while others sit on mountains of wealth.
“If our neighbours in Europe can do it, why not Scotland?”