'Panic Saturday' highlights the shameful inequality of our nation

Hannah Fearn (editedI100 Staff@dinarickman
Saturday 20 December 2014 09:50
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Today has been dubbed "Panic Saturday", a day when Britons are expected to spend £1.2bn buying Christmas gifts.

However, while this consumerist extravaganza takes place, 13 million people in the country will live through the festive season in poverty.

This sobering inequality has seen Britain characterised as "two nations" divided. The Trussell Trust warned yesterday that it expects its busiest ever Christmas in terms of providing emergency rations - with one million people in the country also relying on food banks.

While many people will attempt to fund their Christmas by getting into debt, indulgence will reach new peaks as shoppers will spend up to £4.74bn in the five days before Christmas, according to analysts - a 21 per cent increase from last year.

The findings come three weeks after "Black Friday", when retailers slashed prices, encouraging a shopping surge in which sales grew at the fastest rate for 27 years.

Inequality in the UK is now so extreme that the five richest families are wealthier than the bottom 20 per cent and Shelter predicts 93,000 children will be homeless this Christmas.

Read the Independent's full coverage of "Two nations divided" here.

More: Inequality is the biggest challenge facing the world, say experts

More: Why you should support our Christmas charity appeal, in three charts

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