Country: United Kingdom
Delegate Name: David Liu
United Nations Development Programme
The United Kingdom
David Liu, Forest Hills Northern High School
One of the major issues plaguing our world today is inequality. Whether it be gender, racial, social, or income inequality, mankind has a history of valuing certain groups over others. When we stepped into the modern, industrial world, income inequality emerged, showing a prominent divide between the top 10% and the bottom. Between the beginning of the 21st century and now, there has been no improvement in income inequality; in fact, it is still getting worse and the income gap continues to expand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the poorest half of the global population owned just €2,900 on average per adult, compared to the top 10%, who owned roughly 190 times as much. Additionally, the top 10% make up 52% of all income, while the poorest half make up just 8.5%. In the United Kingdom, although we are ranked 93rd out of 162 countries available on the GINI index at a score of 34.4%, income inequality is still prevalent. Today, the top 10% in the UK own 43% of the wealth, while the bottom 50% of the population owns only 9%. Even so, for the past 14 years, the UK has gone through relatively stable wealth inequality levels, but we understand that this is not the case for most countries. In correspondence with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 10: reducing inequalities, the UK acknowledges that income inequality is a prominent issue of our modern age and that the global body must take countermeasures to ensure the equality of the common man.
Due to the pandemic, the UK recently issued an emergency increase in welfare payments, which helped to reduce income inequality. The bottom 25% saw their incomes grow by as much as 4% in 2021 and around 400,000 children were lifted out of poverty. When we first entered lockdowns, the UK government increased the social benefit payment by 20 pounds per week, as well as provided additional furlough support for workers. The UK’s welfare system has served as a lifeline for millions of Britons during these past 3 years. As our cost of living crisis continues to prevail, more and more citizens have found themselves in lower income brackets. The UK is taking measures to combat our inflated costs, but because of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, improvement has proved to be difficult. We hope that we may soon see some alleviation in our economic distress and that we may have more ability to address them.
We understand that as a whole, income inequality is not an easy thing to solve. It will require lots of collective effort, new legislation, and different restrictions or expansions of laws. Our main focus currently is to slow the growth of the income gap as just keeping it at stable levels would already be a massive feat. Only once we stabilize the growth of inequality can we actually begin to work towards reducing it. We must take everything one step at a time, keeping our gaze set on the bigger picture. This is something that will take years of small changes, but the UK believes that together, the world can become a fairer place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. The UK looks forward to working with other countries in this mission and offering our support to the global community. We stand in solidarity with poverty-stricken or afflicted countries and will play our part.