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Forgotten again

Issue No. 1735

Remember Tony Blair's promise to raise health spending to the European average? He's forgotten it! A study by the London School of Economics and the respected Kings Fund shows that New Labour will need to spend an extra £38 billion a year to reach the target that Blair says he aspires to.

But even if the government sticks to its promised spending plans, the proportion of national wealth, GNP, going to health will only be 8 percent in 2006. By that time the European average will be 11 percent. It already stands at 9 percent. If Blair gets his way it will take five years to reach the European level of a decade ago.

Growing divide

The gap between rich and poor is now wider than at any time since the 1930s. And it is growing under New Labour as it did under the Tories.

  • The number of millionaires in Britain has trebled to 200,000 over the last five years.
  • The number of agencies offering servants for the rich has trebled over the last decade.
  • The share of income going to the richest 20 percent is rising-it stands at 45 percent today.
  • The share of income going to the poorest fifth has fallen from 9 percent in 1979 to 6 percent today.

Cut off

Some 30,000 households had their gas cut off last year. That is 60 percent higher than in 1991. The cost of gas is going up by 4 percent next month.

Profits bonanza

All the giant oil companies have announced record profits in the last few days:

Shell Profits £9.4 billion last year, up by 84 percent. BP Profits £9.5 billion, double last year's. Exxon £12.7 billion, up by 124 percent.

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Article information

Sat 17 Feb 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1735
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