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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 August 2004

Wealth Gap Widens Under Blair

Build a socialist alternative

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) latest report, 'The State of the Nation' confirms what we know only too well - Britain is deeply divided.

Manny Thain

And the wealth gap is widening. When the IPPR published a report into social justice a decade ago, Tony Blair said it would inform his policies. At the time, many people assumed that this meant he would attempt to alleviate poverty. Instead, New Labour rules in the interests of big business.

"Between 1990 and 2000 the percentage of wealth held by the wealthiest 10% of the population increased from 47% to 54%", states the report.

Comparisons with other countries are no more favourable: "In 2001 - the last year for which international figures are available - 23% of children in Britain were living in households earning below 60% of median income, compared to just 5% in Denmark, 10% in Sweden, 14% in Germany."

The report makes clear the link between poverty and social inequality: "The poorest continue to be more likely to suffer from crime and the fear of crime. Around 4.8% of individuals earning under 5,000 a year were burgled in 2003/04 compared with approximately 2.7% of those earning over 30,000." Deprived areas suffer the worst effects of environmental degradation.

New Labour years ago turned its back on the working class. And the consequences of this are far-reaching, and show up in the IPPR report:

"Interest in politics has fallen slightly across all social classes, but there is a growing class divide. Between 1991 and 1999 for social classes D and E interest in politics halved."

It is not so much the case, however, that working-class people have lost interest in politics, but have been disenfranchised. People disillusioned with Blair's social and economic policies, and his prosecution of brutal war and subjugation of the Iraqi people have been abstaining from voting in elections in record numbers.

In reality, the IPPR report illustrates the vital necessity for a new mass workers' party. Armed with a democratic socialist programme it could genuinely represent working-class people. It could be set up by the trade unions, including those which currently fund New Labour. The fight against poverty means giving not a penny more to this union-bashing, privatising, bosses' party.

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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.
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  • 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.
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In The Socialist 7 August 2004:

Wealth Gap Widens Under Blair

'We Need Workers' Rights'

Civil Servants On Strike


International features

WTO - The Enemy Of The Poor

Building A Party Of World Socialism

Teamster Rebellion

Genocidal Horror In Sudan


Socialist Party news and analysis

Throw Out Agenda For Change Now!

Respect Wins First Councillor

New Labour Wrecks Firefighters' Pay Deal

South Yorkshire First Bus Drivers On The Road To Victory


 

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Related links:

Wealth gap:

triangleWidening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleThe have-yachts and the have-nots

triangleFighting the great tax robbery: taxes and regulation or socialist nationalisation?

triangleThem & Us

Labour:

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

triangleTrades council debates workers' political representation

triangleStarmer in full retreat over C-19 rents crisis

triangleSocial partnership is an attempt to shackle trade unions and prevent industrial action

Poverty:

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!

Crime:

triangleTV: Crime and Punishment - this brutal watch is a damning indictment of cuts and capitalism

triangleKnife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

Britain:

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

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