Winning the long fight against inequality

THE REDUCTION in poverty under Labour has been “remarkable”, according to the OECD (sorry, can’t provide the link because I’m writing this on my PDA).

Well, now that I’ve lit that particular blue touch paper, I’ll stand well back. Let the comments commence…


Filed under Economy, Government, Labour

13 responses to “Winning the long fight against inequality

  1. richard

    Very mixed result for the UK. Inequality lower but the UK still has one of the largest gaps between rich and poor in the developed world. Hardly a ringing endorsement after a decade of socialist government.


    Of course the article (and your post) start from the premise that reducing inequality is necessarily a good thing rather than a focus on raising “quality of living” across all social groups…

  2. James

    Credit where credit’s due.

    Although I’m more worried about the ‘debit’ side of things.

  3. davidc

    james – i thought most if not all of our present woes stemmed from no money to pay the ‘credit due’

  4. “Well, now that I’ve lit that particular blue touch paper, I’ll stand well back. Let the comments commence…”

    Tom, I do hope blogging hasn’t made you a tad cynical?

  5. braddogley

    A lot of progress has been made but there is no doubt still lots to do. Brown should be making a patriotic case (both Scottish and British) for why the government should spend us out of recession through public works.

    Noone should kid themselves that this progress would ever have happened under a Tory or Nationalist administration.

    It is still not good enough, maybe 6 or 7 out of 10 then from me. No doubt, I will be shot down myself now!

  6. Brian Hall

    Well done. I believe there is nowt more to say, it has made a difference and rightly so.

    Credit where credit is due.

  7. Will S

    Of course less people are in “poverty” than when Labour came to power. However this is less of a subjective term than the one which is used by the government. The relative poverty which is measured internationally has a completely different threshold than the one which we use here.

    Furthermore you have to consider another matter before you gloat too much over this. The question is not simply whether poverty has been reduced, but whether it has been reduced sustainably and in the long-term. If the government cut its benefits back to the 1997 levels, how many people would fall into the category? More people than in 1997 or less?

    I don’t know the answer, and I suspect that neither do you, Tom. 😉

  8. Johnny Norfolk

    If you want to reduce inequality.

    The first thing you need is a sound economy so you can afford to do something about it.
    Labour brags about the minimum wage, but what is the point if because of of mis management of the economy basics like food and fuel rise so much for those who are at risk.
    History will judge that Labour has done more to damage Britain than any other government.
    The pain suffered for some during the Thatcher years in the end brought prosperity to this country the like we have never seen before.
    Now we have the pain but with just even worse pain to come.
    The only hope we have is to rid us of this Labour con party before it is to late.

  9. joe bonanno

    Psst Tom, you, the txt msg from alstr cmpbl, and no surprise the BBC all seemed to have missed the below. Hard to find though as it was in the summary.

    Are you not embarrassed for your party? You should be.

    Earnings have become much more unequal in the UK: the wage gap has widened by 20% since
    1985, with much of the widening occurring towards the start of this period.

    16% of all households with a working-age head are jobless – only Belgium, Germany and
    Hungary have more people in households where no one has a job. But the number of children
    living in workless households has been falling recently.

    The number of people living alone or in single-parent households has increased more rapidly
    than in all other countries. The average household size in the UK declined from 2.4 to 2.1
    (compared to an OECD average decline of 2.7 to 2.6) between 1985 and 2005. This has
    widened inequality.

    Income poverty – that is, a household with less than half the average (median) income for its
    country – fell from 10% to 8% between the mid-1990s and 2005. For the first time since the
    1980s, the poverty level is well below the OECD average.

    The number of children living poverty fell from 14% to 10% between the mid-1990s and 2005–
    the second largest fall (behind Italy) over this period. Even so, child poverty rates are still above
    the levels recorded in the mid-1980s (7-8%) and mid-1970s (5%).

    There is less social mobility in the UK than in Australia, Canada and Denmark. In this respect it
    is similar to the United States and Italy. What your parents earned when you were a child has
    much more effect on your own earnings than in more mobile countries.

  10. Zorro

    Inequality is completely unimportant, and is frankly a ludicrous thing to target. As I posted elsewhere today:

    Would you prefer to earn £500 per month and know that everyone else earns £500 per month, or earn £1000 per month and know that a lot of people earn £10000 per month.

    Choose the former and you deserve everything you get. A socialist basket case of a country with no-one productive left.

    Where do the socialists see this country if we had another 5 years of Gordon and his tax/spend initiative? Seriously the private sector will shrink to the point it simply cannot support Gordons army of chavs. (We may be past that tipping point already).

  11. Indy

    The report says that since 2000, income inequality and poverty have fallen faster in the United Kingdom than in any other OECD country. However, the gap between the rich and poor is still greater in the UK than in three quarters of OECD countries.

    The accompanying article by Sir Anthony Atkinson is interesting, particularly where he says of the effect of the credit crunch on income inequality:

    ‘Government budgets are under stress, but citizens are going to expect that, if funds can be found to rescue banks, then governments can fund unemployment benefits and employment subsidies.’

    Spot on.

  12. This is very good news. I’m sure it will irritate many of your right-thinking blog visitors and some on the hard left fringes of Labour. The latter seem to prefer the politics of theory to the hard slog of reality and seem to carp even more at this Labour government than they did when the Tories were in power.

    Reducing inequality is a remarkable achievement especially in a free society in which the rich are inevitably more powerful than the poor.

    It also inevitably takes a long time and even longer to show up in measurements and other indicators. Regrettably it’s unlikely to win Labour many more votes partly because so many of the beneficiaries don’t vote or always support Labour anyway. But it might win back some of the LibDem switchers especially those who are dismayed by the direction in which Mr Clegg seems to be leading his confused troops.

    And, although without votes you can do nothing, being in government isn’t just about winning votes – it’s about doing the correct things…

  13. Madasafish

    Well done.

    And if it two year’s time it’s any better, even better done.

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