Socialist Worker

New figures on poverty that shame New Labour government

Issue No. 1946

The poorest people in Britain are getting less money than when Labour won the last election. Devastating new official figures show that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have utterly failed to combat poverty.

Previously most figures had shown that the poor were falling further behind the richest but were slightly better off than four years ago. But the Households Below Average Income statistics show that the poorest 10 percent in Britain are £3 a week worse off than in 2001.

After housing costs, they have just £88 a week to live on. The political elite who will strut about asking for our votes for the next four weeks would spend that on a single restaurant meal.

Brown boasts that Britain is going through the “longest period of economic growth for 200 years”. But the poorest are being pushed to the fringes of society. Their share of total income has fallen since 1997 to a paltry 2.8 percent.

The government has covered up the truth in the past because most statistics divide the population into 20 percent bands of wealth. These latest figures, collected in 10 percent bands, show the reality.

The poor really are getting poorer under Labour. Remember that when they make all their promises and claim to stand for the majority. This election is about the war and so much more.

For the key statistics go to table A2, of Households Below Average Income 2003-4 at

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Sat 9 Apr 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1946
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