Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Wealth Gap has Narrowed After All

The Wealth Gap has allegedly been growing apace for the last two or three decades, driven on by deregulated markets, hedge fund traders etc etc. Labour's critics have been quick to point to the 'fact' that inequality has extended disturbingly thoughout its eleven years in power. I always found this deeply depressing, as a Labour supporter, and could not really find much of an answer except to assert, do doubt correctly, that under Tories the gap would be wider, and what is more, they would not have given a fig for it or the poor, (IDS nobly excepted). For a longer analysis of wealth and poverty in Britain visit my companion site right here. Oh yes, and it gives the excuse to use my very favourite Ascot picture, illustrating the wealth gap.

Today I hear on the eponymous radio 4 show, that this is not the case. Let me quote from the BBC website:

A new report says the gap between rich and poor in the UK has narrowed but it is still one of the biggest in the developed world.Despite a vast majority of the UK being richer than 10 years ago, the gap between rich and poor was widening. A report by the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) now says that the gap has narrowed. Mark Pearson, who wrote the report for the OECD, says this has been due to a large rise in employment and social spending.

So, can Labour now boast some minor success as opposed to abject failure in terms of reducing poverty? You can count on it that they will, but I supect that as the next election approaches, statistical argument about such matters will burgeon, to the enlightenment of few, if any at all.

Bill, has there been an abject failure to reduce poverty? I heard some (non-government) wonk on the Today programme this morning explaining that the main reason for the closing of the gap was the higher levels of employment, particularly amongst working mothers, which couldn't just be attributed to increased migrant labour.
IU think you mmisunderstand my post. I was referring to the same report on Today. I was saying Labour has been presented as failing but this seems not to be the case.
This will depress some vocal members on the hard left of the Labour party (and many more who aren't members). Such folk seem more interested in the theory rather than practice of politics. Many of them seem to take a perverse delight in being harder in public on a Labour government than they ever were on the Tories.

Turning a wealth-gap around is an incredibly difficult task in a free society in which the wealthy are inevitably more powerful than the poor. It's a long-term task and its impact takes ages to show up in measurements.

This is a huge achievement but, as you say, it’s regrettably unlikely to win Labour many extra votes...
Apologies Bill, you're correct, I have misread your piece. I thought you were saying that Labour had some minor good news about reducing the wealth gap despite the fact that overall their record on reducing poverty was abject.
So Labour has beggared the rich at a slightly quicker rate than the poor...

I can't really see them queueing up for this legacy.

I mean seriously, is this it?! After 11 years, it has been reduced to this crap. Labour are so feeble now, I almost feel sorry for them.
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?