Socialist Worker

Blair and Brown share ‘shameful’ record

Issue No. 1913

INEQUALITY IN Britain today is much worse than when New Labour came to power—and that’s according to figures from a Blairite think-tank.

A grim report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published last week shows the gap between rich and poor widening under Blair’s government.

In 1994 the richest 1 percent owned 6 percent of the country’s wealth.

Today they own 13 percent. In 1994 the poorest 90 percent owned 53 percent of the wealth. Today they own just 44 percent.

There are four million workers who live on poverty wages today—that’s 300,000 more than in 1997. And some 2.1 million pensioners are living in poverty.

On child poverty, one of Labour’s much-trumpeted policy areas, “the UK still has a shameful record”, according to the think-tank.

One in four children in Britain are in households which live below the breadline. The average across the European Union is one in five. In Denmark the figure is one in 14.

Meanwhile the rich are cracking open the champagne under Labour. The average wages grabbed by executives of Britain’s top 100 companies rocketed by 288 percent over the last ten years.

The health gap between the classes has risen under New Labour. The richest men live an average of five years longer than the poorest. In 1997 the gap was just 2.6 years.

Ethnic minorities continue to suffer worse inequality of opportunity and poorer living conditions than white people, says the report.

Some 69 percent of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people live in poverty, compared to 20 percent of whites. And women also face continuing inequality. Women who work full time earn 82 percent of men’s earnings.

Women part time workers earn 60 percent of part time male workers’ earnings, a figure that hasn’t changed in years.

To see the full report go to

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Sat 7 Aug 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1913
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