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Inequality in Britain today
12/03/2014 16:47:00


There is a widespread view on the left that this Government is presiding over growing inequality.

But what does the evidence show? Compared to 2009 (Labour’s last year in office) there are:

• 1 million fewer people in relative poverty, including 500,000 fewer children and 200,000 fewer pensioners (ONS, Households below average income).

• 150,000 fewer people unemployed, including 25,000 fewer young people (ONS, Labour Market Statistics).

• 1.3 million more people in work (ibid.).

• 750,000 fewer people claiming the main out of work benefits (ibid.).

• 275,000 fewer workless households i.e. families where no-one works (ONS, Workless households).

• 40,000 fewer households where no-one has ever worked (ibid.).

Of course, there are still many families in this country struggling to make ends meet. We are, after all, recovering from the deepest recession in living memory and the Government is having to take painful decisions to get us back in the black, many of which inevitably affect those on low incomes. But what this evidence shows is that overall the Government’s policies are getting more people into work and reducing the number of people in relative poverty.

Comment on this blog


Readers' Comments

On 11/03/2014 18:25:00 Andy L wrote:
Here are a few more statistics to add to the above list:

• 1,700,000 British citizens now at risk of Poverty

• 6,442,000 employees paid below a Living Wage

• 300,000 children still in Child Poverty

• 800,000 people in Fuel Poverty

• An estimated 960,000 people to use Food Banks in 2014 – a massive increase since the

Con/Dems took over

• 700,000 households being hit with the Bedroom Tax

• 500,000 Disabled people being forced to work unpaid

• 1,400,000 people forced to work unpaid

• 430,000 businesses/people declared bust

• 2,500,000 patients waiting 4+ hours at A&Es

• 500,000+ Public Sector Workers axed

• 2,400,000 people hit by Council Tax hike

• 500,000 students hit with £9k Tuition Fees

• 1,000,000 young people hit by the scrapping of EMA

• 5,600,000 workers hit with Wage Freezes

• There has been a massive increase in the use of “Zero Hours” contracts that exploit workers by

not giving them paid leave, sick pay etc.


• Bank bonuses are up 64%

• Electricity prices are up 22-39% in price since May 2010

• The Government has cut the 50p rate' High Earner Tax by 10%

• The Government has slashed a worker's right to 90 days Redundancy Notice and introduced

Employment Tribunal fees making it much harder for ordinary workers to fight dismissal.

• Private health care firms with Tory links have been awarded NHS contracts worth nearly


The Government front benches are crammed with multi- millionaires, who will never have to worry about turning the heating off in winter because they can’t afford the bills. Will never have to claim Social Security or rely on food banks because their benefits have been slashed, or face eviction from their council houses because they can’t afford to pay the rent. They will never have to worry about how they are going to get their children through University because of the massive hike in tuition fees. The plain fact is that life is now much harder for lower and middle income families

David Cameron, Gideon Osbourne et al do not represent “the people”- they represent the rich. This Con/Dem government is a class-based government in thrall to the business and financial elite. It is a government for the bankers, rich Tory donors and the vested interests of the wealthy. It is not on the side of ordinary people.

Therefore it would seem some are recovering a lot faster than others Mr Barwell.

On 12/03/2014 13:51:00 Jim wrote:
The black economy is out of control. People claim benefits whilst doing work for cash. People claim benefits whilst not even being in the UK. I doubt whether anybody knows (especially public "servants") what the real figures are - but it is clear the economy has been growing well.

As for "relative poverty", that is a ridiculous measure much loved by socialists (and civil servants) who would have no problem making the poor poorer provided they can make the rich poorer at a faster rate.

1% of income tax payers pay 30% of income tax. How's that for inequality?

On 13/03/2014 19:48:00 jim wrote:
Andy L, a few corrections needed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer prefers to call himself "George Osborne", not "Gideon Osbourne".

Oh, I think I'll leave the rest.

On 15/03/2014 20:09:00 susan lyttle wrote:
I so agree with the other comments, all I can see is that this government has just moved the goal posts to make themselves look good, I am in a much worse position now that i was 4 years ago, and i earn a good wage so god knows what it must be like to have to live on a minim wage.



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