The gap between the highest and lowest paid has reached its highest level in over 30 years, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The report, Divided we stand: why inequality keeps rising, found that the average income of the richest 10% is now about nine times that of the poorest 10%.
The gap is 10 to one in the UK, as well as in Italy, Japan and Korea. In Germany, Denmark and Sweden, the income gap has risen from five to one in the 1980s to six to one today.
In Israel, Turkey and the United States, the gap is 14 to one. Income inequality is much higher in emerging economies. In Brazil it is 50 to one, but has been falling significantly over the past decade.
Angel GurrÌa, secretary-general of the OECD, said: “The social contract is starting to unravel in many countries.
“This study dispels the assumptions that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged and that greater inequality fosters greater social mobility.
“Without a comprehensive strategy for inclusive growth, inequality will continue to rise.”
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