The divide amongst income classes in the United Kingdom are a result of years of deep-seated issues. Throughout many of the major cities, like London, it seems as though the gap in social classes is widening as the wealthy get richer and the median income average continues to fall. In addition, homelessness is a bigger issue now more than ever and cannot be swept under the rug any longer. This divide between upper and lower class is starting to spread to neutral institutions like schools and housing buildings, too.
In the upper class apartment blocks of London, builders are required to have a generous mix of affordable apartments options intermingled with their luxuriously priced penthouses. This forced mix of social class residents has lead developers to include what is being referred to as a ‘poor door’ in their building. This is a separate door, typically around the back of the building, that residents of certain social classes are required to use instead of the main entrance. To keep up appearances and standards, housing developments are segregating residents and driving the wedge further in the gap between wealthy and not.
This gap has spread quickly to public schools as well. It has been reported that over one-third of primary schools are segregated by social and economic classes based on the number of pupils eligible for free school meals and those who are not and comparing these to surrounding schools in the same neighborhood. This trend continues throughout secondary school as well with a one-fourth population of students facing the same gap. The effects of segregation within school systems is detrimental on students. It can lead to anxiety, prejudice, and social immobility for students.
Economically, the United Kingdom has seen a large gap in the scope at which jobs are being produced. It seems that more jobs from each extreme end of the spectrum are popping up, affecting the medium income and availability of middle-class jobs. What many individuals and institutions are not comprehending is the community growth that is hindered as a result of subjecting yourself to daily segregation.
Those on either end of the social ladder have grown bitter preconceived notions of one another. The wealthy see those below them as dangerous or lazy. Those who are poorer see their wealthy neighbors as snobbish and conceited. This is creating a large social divide within communities and could eventually affect the safety of a neighborhood. Communities integrated with residents from all levels of social and economic backgrounds are more united.