Wealthy in UK ‘more powerful than MPs’ say public

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Society’s richest one percent hold more power than governments, the public believe.

Some 39 percent of people thought the super wealthy have the most influence, a survey by Opinium Research for cross-party MPs found.

In comparison, almost a quarter (24 percent) said the same about governments.

Similar polling in 2018 showed people were more likely to say governments held more power than the rich – 33 percent against 29 percent.

The findings are part of research by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Inclusive Growth in partnership with the Policy Institute at King’s College London and the Fairness Foundation charity, which works to build a fairer society.

Labour MP Liam Byrne, co-chair of the APPG said that over the last five years, there has been a “profound” shift in perception of power in Britain.

He added: “It’s clear that more people now think that the super-rich hold the most power in the land – more power than the politicians we elect to run the country.

“Almost no one sees ‘ordinary people’ as the most influential.”

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Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the Policy Institute at KCL, described the increasing proportion of the British public that see the most wealthy as more powerful than governments as a “remarkable shift”.

“We don’t often see those sorts of turnarounds in opinion and it reflects a significant shift in how many see influence working in the UK,” he added.

“But there were signals of concern back in 2018, when the UK public thought that the wealthiest were going to be the most powerful group by 2030 – it seems we’re just ahead of schedule on a worrying trend the public had picked up on.”

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