Dead Men Left

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Not exactly Robin Hood: New Labour and rising income inequality

Continuing a theme, a few brave souls are prepared to trumpet New Labour's underlying commitment to "social justice". Except...

Poverty among childless adults of working age has grown to record levels since Tony Blair came to power in 1997, according to an independent analysis of Labour's performance by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation...

The proportion of households below three-fifths of national average earnings - the official poverty line - rose from 12% to 13% from 1997 to 2003, higher than under Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

To which we might also throw in (amongst so much else) that John Hills' latest research finds the gap between the richest and the poorest to have grown between the last year of the Tory government until 2003. To Blair's utter discredit, a combination of a recession and high government spending ensured that income inequality was actually reduced under Major's Conservative administration.

This ought to unsettle the never-mind-Iraq crowd: how can a government professing any concern for social justice have been less redistributive than John Major?