UK society is divided and unfair, report says

Home Affairs Editor,Robert Verkaik
Monday 11 October 2010 00:00 BST

Britain is a deeply divided country where millions of people find the doors to success are permanently closed, according to the results of the most complete study of equality and prejudice in the UK.

The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), How Fair Is Britain?, the most comprehensive compilation of evidence on discrimination and disadvantage ever assembled in Britain, shows that long-standing inequalities remain undiminished and that new social and economic fault lines are emerging.

In a speech today, Trevor Phillips, head of the EHRC, will say that, while Britain has made great strides in addressing inequities, significant barriers to fairness remain.

The report found that men and women from the highest social class can expect to live up to seven years longer than those from lower socio-economic groups.

The report identifies five critical "gateways to opportunity" which the EHRC says can make the difference between success and failure in life. These are health and well-being, education, work and wealth, security and autonomy.

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