Socialist Worker

New Labour caught lying

Issue No. 1748

Redistribution

New Labour caught lying

THE GULF between rich and poor has grown faster under Tony Blair than it did under Tory John Major. That's the astonishing fact that emerges from a definitive study of living standards in Britain published last week by the reputable Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

It shows that the rich have seen their real income grow more quickly under New Labour than it did during the five years from 1992 to 1997 under John Major's government.

Amazingly, the poorest in society also did better under John Major than they have done under Tony Blair's government. The figures show that the claims by some New Labour leaders and their supporters that they have redistributed wealth in favour of the poorest are lies. The richest fifth of people saw their real (allowing for inflation) after-tax income grow by just under 1 percent a year under John Major's government. Under Blair's government this group have seen a 2.8 percent increase every year.

As a result, reports the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the gulf between rich and poor in Britain has now grown to be greater than at any time since before 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected. Chancellor Gordon Brown boasts that he wants to be remembered for "abolishing pensioner poverty".

Yet the IFS figures show that under New Labour the number of pensioners living below the government's official poverty line has increased by 40,000. And they also show that all the government's talk of helping families with children is hollow.

There are still more than four million children, one in three, living in households below the poverty line. Far from "targeting" the poor for help, this government has in reality been a Robin Hood in reverse, and targeted the rich for special treatment. The Socialist Alliance and Scottish Socialist Party say that it's high time we got back to the real Robin Hood principle-take from the rich and give to the poor.


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News
Sat 19 May 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1748
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