We live in a nation divided by money.
It is not the most startling admission ever made, but a new report shows just how wide the gulf between rich and poor has grown in recent years.
The wealth map produced with the report shows clearly where the divisions exist and how the already rich areas have become disproportionately wealthier over four decades, while in areas of some cities more than half of all households are now “breadline poor”.
What is particularly noticeable is how often these startlingly divurgent sectors of society live side-by-side, yet exist in completely different worlds.
The “city living” dream that has led to a property explosion in many places, such as Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff, often means you have apartments and townhouses costing six and in some case seven-figure sums being built in the shadow of crumbling council-owned tower blocks and badly neglected estates. One of the most economically and socially deprived wards in the centre of Birmingham, for example, is also home to some of the most prestigious canal-side addresses.
The report, released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, paints a stark but important picture of the level of inequality that exists with the UK.
The polarisation of society can be traced baack to the 1980s, but arguably the aspirational nature of modern society has actually accelerated the divisions.
We are more than ever a nation of have’s and have not’s.
But increasingly we are a nation of desperately want-to-be’s, who aspire to a lifestyle they cannot realistically achieve and who invariably suffer the dire consequences off debt, deprivation and depression in pursuit of a “happier” and wealthier existence.