The Cost of Inequality

April 2014

This briefing note uses quantitative analysis to explain how the social and economic impact of inequality costs the UK the equivalent over £39 billion every year.  

The UK has the second highest level of inequality of the developed OECD countries. The report estimates that if inequality was reduced to the average level seen in these countries, the UK could expect to:

  • Increase average healthy life expectancy by 8 and a half months, at a value of £12.5 billion
  • Reduce mental health illness rates by 5 per cent, at a value of £25 billion
  • Imprison 37 per cent fewer people, at a value of £1 billion
  • Experience 33 per cent fewer murders, at a value of £678 million

The report finds that the cost of dealing with social issues associated with the UK’s high inequality has been estimated at £39,312,152,414. If this was broken down to an individual level, it would show that the impact of inequality on every man, woman and child is the equivalent of £622.