Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Things can only get better?
I was dismayed, if not surprised, following the publication of the report today into the inequalities within the UK. The analysis, which was commissioned by the UK Government, should provide a short, sharp shock to the system and deliver home the message that people are not being lifted out of poverty, in fact, the situation is getting worse.
Evidence of a growing gap between the rich and poor can be found throughout the 56-page document, An Anatomy of Economic Inequality.
One measure indicated that by 2007/08 income equality levels were the greatest since just after World War Two. It also said the richest 10% in our society are now 100 times wealthier than the poorest 10%.
Discrimination against minority groups and women is also rife. Workers from nearly every national minority group are less likely to be in paid work than white British men and women. Furthermore, men are still paid up to 21% more than women up to the age of 44 despite having, on average, inferior qualifications.
This report came out the same week Save the Children found that 1.7 million children across the UK are living in severe poverty. In Wales this proportion is even higher than in other nations in the UK with 96,000 living in severe poverty.
These two reports will really test powers of spin that have propelled the UK Labour Government through the last 13 years. They have already been trumpeting that the undeniable growth in equality over the last decade or so is, according to some indicators, slowing due to measures they have implemented.
This looks to me like the last thrashings of a dead animal that knows its time is up. The UK Labour Government is failing to see the facts, just like they have failed the poorest in society. How else could the non-doms, the Russian oligarchs and super-rich bankers be allowed to flourish if this was not the case?
In their attempts to woo Middle England, the UK Labour party has forgotten their core support; the ones who voted for them in their droves after two decades of a Tory Government that did nothing but tread on the hopes and aspirations of the working class.
No amount of spin will be able to masquerade this failure at the ballot box.