Social disparity in the UK is underestimated

By staff

Both rich and poor people in Britain think their earnings are closer to the average than they actually are, according to research published today.

The TUC union has conducted an online survey and the results show that most low-earners overestimate where they come on the income scale, while higher earners tend to underestimate their position – believing themselves comparably less well-off than they are.

Those earning over £35,000 are in the top 20 per cent of earners, but on average they considered themselves 26 percentage points lower on the income scale than they actually were.

Meanwhile, those earning under £10,000 a year thought that they came 13 percentage points higher on the income scale than they actually did.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Everyone seems to think they live in Middle Britain, and that our country is more equal than it actually is.

“For all the talk of Middle Britain being the key group that decide elections, they have not had a fair share of economic growth since 1979.

“If people knew the truth about just how unfairly distributed income and wealth is in Britain, then they would be angry.”

Since 1979 the increases for the better-off have pushed up average earnings by 78 per cent but this is not reflective of actual average wages in the UK.