Social inequality

Social inequality

Is Scotland more Nordic than liberal?

In this chapter we compare attitudes towards social inequality in Scotland with those in England, Denmark, Finland and Norway. If Scotland is more Nordic than liberal, then we would expect to see a divergence in social attitudes between Scotland and England, and a similarity between Scotland and the Nordic countries. Social inequality Is Scotland more Nordic than liberal?

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People in Scotland are most likely to think the income distribution is unfair

  • 73% of people in Scotland say the distribution of incomes in Britain is unfair, compared with 65% in England.
  • In the Nordic countries, where income inequality is much lower, only 38% of people in Denmark and 52% of people in Norway claim the income differences between high and low earners is unfair. In Finland, where income inequality has increased substantially, 63% claim the income distribution is unfair.

Scotland lies between England and the Nordic countries in its attitude towards buying better education and healthcare

  • 46% of people in Scotland say that it is wrong for people to buy better education, while 42% say the same of buying better healthcare.
  • In England the equivalent figures are 34% and 32% respectively.
  • In Norway 70% feel it is wrong to buy better education, while 65% feel that way about buying better healthcare. The figures in both Finland (62% and 51%) and Denmark (60% and 50%) are also higher than in Scotland.

People in Scotland are most likely to say they live in an unequal society

  • Only 11% of people living in Scotland claim British society is broadly equal with most people in the middle, compared with 17% of people living in England.
  • People in the Nordic countries are much more likely to feel their society is broadly equal – 53% in Norway, 51% in Denmark and 39% in Finland.

People in Scotland are most likely to believe government has been unsuccessful in reducing income differences

  • 37% of people in Scotland say that government in Britain has been ‘very unsuccessful’ at reducing the differences between those on high incomes and those on low incomes – compared with 29% in England.
  • The equivalent figure is much lower in the three more equal Nordic countries – 21% in Norway, 18% in Finland and just 11% in Denmark.

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