Saturday, March 05, 2005

Child Poverty

New Labour likes to bang on about family orientated policies and help for the underclass so this statistic from the Child Poverty Action Group is very interesting.

The proportion of children living in poverty;

Under Thatcher - 7%
Under Blair - 15.4%

(Defined as households with income per head below 50% of the national median income.)

That really is out of order. Firstly, your definition, which I accept is pretty standardly used, is flawed. It's a measure of relative poverty rather than absolute poverty. But if you look at the change over the course of this Labour Government, we have taken over a million children out of poverty since 1997. I'm not going to apologise for that, particularly when the Tories are proposing policies that will shut down our redistributive efforts and pump money into the pockets of the rich.
Recess Monkey

Is relative poverty not real poverty? That is exactly the argument that the Tories used to use in the Eighties. Show me this evidence that "we have taken over a million children out of poverty since 1997".

The first two years of the government’s term in office
“were dire for poor children” according to the bleeding hearts at the Child Poverty Action Group. If you prefer to talk about absolute poverty fine, the fact is that when it comes to tackling the rate of absolute poverty, the Blair Project has been nowhere near as successful as the Thatcher Revolution.

As for not apologising for Labour's redistributive efforts, you don't really have anything to be unapologetic about, according to this week's New Statesmen. The Super-Rich are 'Richer under Labour'and have seen their wealth increase dramatically since 1997, leaving the gap between rich and poor wider than it has been since the 1930s.

According to the left-wing New Statesman’s Bling-Bling List, the fortunes of most of Britain’s richest people have doubled or more under Tony Blair’s administration. Amongst the many examples are Tony's very own indecent proposer, Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone (up £2.05bn to £2.3bn). So the million pound cheque he wrote Labour would not have been missed if he had not got it back. Tony Atkinson of Oxford University, an expert on inequality, says that the top 1% of the population – about 600,000 people – now receive a larger proportion of the UK’s income than at any time since the 1930s.

The Office for National Statistics reports that this group doubled their wealth to £797 billion in Labour’s first six years in office, increasing their share of the national wealth from 20% to 23%. Meanwhile
the share of the poorest 50% declined from 10% under Thatcher to 5% under Tony. The top fifth on the income scale pay a smaller proportion of their income in tax (34%) than the bottom fifth (42%), according to the magazine.

Another one of Tony's pals and Labour donor has done very well, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal (up £2bn to £3.5bn between 1997 and 2004) under Labour - maybe he can
now afford to get someone else instead of Tony to write his letters. Mandelson's friends, the Hinduja brothers (up £1bn to £2.1bn), the list goes on - so Recess - don't apologise to me - apologise to the core traditional Labour voters who see Blair's Billionaire pals prosper whilst their share of the national wealth has halved.

Thatcher's popular privatisations and council house sales brought capital to the working classes, capital that really changed lives for the better. That was a real redistibution of wealth - from the state to the people - backed up by tax cuts that meant workers kept more of their wages. Blair and Brown tax us more heavily, waste it on an ever growing bureaucracy and then give us a little back in a range of incomprehensible means tested benefits. Thanks a lot. Just get off our backs.


Post a Comment

<< Home