Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/375/4221

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 January 2005

Blair's Britain

Reports expose inequality scandal

"Super-rich have doubled their money under Labour" was the headline in The Guardian on 8 December, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a report graphically illustrating the widening gaps in wealth, assets and life expectancy.

Roy Farrar, Merseyside

Days later the Rowntree Centenary report Strategies Against Poverty was launched at the foundation's conference. It is a shocking survey on the unrelieved miseries of Britain's poor families and their inner-city neighbourhoods.

The ONS report said that nearly 600,000 individuals in the top 1% of the UK wealth league owned assets worth 355 billion in 1996, the last full year of Tory rule. By 2002 that had increased to 797 billion. The wealth of the super-rich has doubled since Tony Blair came to power.

The ONS figures showed the surge in wealth of the richest 1% in the UK from the final years of the Tory government under John Major. The top 1% increased their share of national wealth from 20% to 23% in the first six years of the New Labour government. On average, each individual in the top 1% is 737,000 better off now compared to just before Blair arrived in Downing Street.

Penny Babb, of the ONS, said the income gap between high and low earners was also widening. Since the mid-1990s the income of the poorest and richest 10% of the population grew at about the same pace - rising by over one-fifth.

"However, these increases resulted in a rise of 119 per week for those near the top, compared with a rise of 28 per week for those near the bottom," she said. "This shows the absolute difference in average weekly income has continued to widen... The income distribution remains unequal. The top 10% received over a quarter of total income in 2002/03."

Life expectancy

The gap in life expectancy has widened, the ONS report added. Thirty years ago men from poorer backgrounds died 5.5 years before their more prosperous contemporaries; now the gap is 7.5 years.

Donald Hirsch, a special adviser to the Rowntree Foundation, author of Strategies Against Poverty, spoke of: "Awareness that without action to deal with the corrosive consequences of deprivation, there is little hope of solving related problems such as drug cultures, crime and family breakdown that are fed by hopelessness".

The Rowntree report states that nearly twice as many people have relatively low incomes as 25 years ago! Millions are unable to afford basic necessities such as proper clothing and nutrition. And people's prospects of escape from disadvantage have become more heavily influenced by geography, not less.

One in five children in England, Scotland and Wales are living in families receiving means-tested benefits where their parents or carers are not working. In 100 local authority wards with the worst concentrations of poverty, almost six in every ten children live in families relying on Income Support and other means-tested benefits.

No prizes for guessing that these wards, or districts, are to be found in Glasgow. Merseyside, London, Newcastle, South Wales, and so on. All those constituencies where Blair and his henchmen will take for granted that working people will vote New Labour!

The Rowntree report argues that only a modest share of economic growth in the next 20 years would need be redistributed to raise the ten million poorest people in Britain above the poverty threshold. In the face of the damning evidence laid before their York conference, the Rowntree Foundation calls for a 'road map' to tackle poverty to be followed by Blair and New Labour!

After the usual 'hand wringing' and pious protestations, the middle class 'do-gooders' of this organisation, and its ilk, seek only to appeal to the better natures of the rich and powerful.

Lord Best, director of the foundation, declared: "On this special day in our history, we call on everyone who shares our concerns and priorities to work together towards common goals."

"Everyone", of course, does not include the poor themselves. Any agitation by this "everyone" amongst working people to improve matters themselves must be avoided at all costs. Improvements and progress are best regulated from above. Involving the workers may only cause them to draw the conclusion that the best way to tackle poverty is to overturn the society that produces these inequalities!

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 8 January 2005:

They didn't have to die

Scale of tragedy was avoidable

India: A disaster made worse by poverty

Sri Lanka appeal

It was no 'Act of God'

Aceh: Indonesian military hampers aid operation

Strike against low pay

Fighting a failing system

Reports expose inequality scandal

How to resist New Labour's attacks

Elections in Iraq - but no peace or democracy

Fatah leaders 'unite' behind Abbas


 

Home   |   The Socialist 8 January 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Poverty:

triangleGoing viral: Socialist comments and letters

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleFurlough scheme extended - workers need 100% of wages

triangleJD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Is Universal Basic Income the solution to poverty?

Britain:

triangle1920s Britain: A "country nearer Bolshevism than at any time since"

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Crisis, capitalism and class division - a discussion on perspectives for Britain

triangle130 Years of May Day in Britain: Fight for workers' rights more relevant than ever

triangleThe special Covid crisis of British capitalism

Labour:

triangleSocialism Today special issue: Lessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleBlairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated

triangleCouncil finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/6/20

Obituary

Ken Douglas

4/6/20

Black Lives Matter

3rd June anti-racist demonstrations across Britain

3/6/20

Equity

Equity union general secretary election

3/6/20

Socialist

Pandemic doesn't stop Socialist Party educating organisers: northern meeting

3/6/20

Labour Party

Blairite general secretary elected - Starmer's takeover of Labour Party consolidated

3/6/20

Racism

Fight racism and class inequality, fight capitalism!

3/6/20

Covid

Hospital closed following rampant spread of Covid-19

3/6/20

JCB

Coordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

3/6/20

PCS

PCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

3/6/20

Schools

Schools... no going back until it's safe

3/6/20

UCU

Reject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation

3/6/20

Buses

Fight continues for safety on London buses

27/5/20

Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

27/5/20

Ferries

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

27/5/20

Schools

Schools aren't safe

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999