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A quarter of the entire population of Victorian Britain was living in poverty. 40% of the country’s wealth was owned by 5% of the population.
First, the profits squeeze that helped to define the 1970s has been replaced by a sustained wage squeeze in which average earnings have been rising more slowly than productivity. In addition, the share of national wealth going to wages has been in sharp decline – peaking at 65 per cent in 1973 but running at 53 per cent today. • Secondly, this new squeeze has been compounded in its impact by another long-term economic trend: the increasing concentration of the earnings pool at the top. • Thirdly, alongside Britain’s increasingly low wage, unequal economy, there lies another important and increasingly entrenched trend – a decline in the employment opportunities open to those on middle and lower earnings.