Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/689/12961
Con-Dems' policies increase poverty
Living standards are set to fall and poverty will massively increase in the coming years as a result of the coalition government's tax and benefit counter-reforms. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) nearly one in four children in the UK will live in absolute poverty by 2020.
Using measures of poverty defined in the Child Poverty Act (2010) the IFS calculates that "the period between 2009-10 and 2012-13 is likely to be dominated by a large decline in real incomes across the income distribution."
The report continues: "Absolute poverty is forecast to rise by about 600,000 children and 800,000 working-age adults. Median income is expected to fall by around 7% in real terms, which would be the largest three-year fall for 35 years.
"The net direct effect of the coalition government's tax and benefit changes is to increase both absolute and relative poverty. This is because other changes, such as the switch from RPI- to CPI- indexation of means-tested benefits, more than offset the impact on poverty of Universal Credit.
"Absolute and relative child poverty are forecast to be 23% and 24% in 2020-21 respectively. These compare to the targets of 5% and 10%, set out in the Child Poverty Act (2010) and passed with cross-party support. This would be the highest rate of absolute child poverty since 2001-02 and the highest rate of relative child poverty since 1999-2000."
But at the same time as the Con-Dems are further squeezing the working poor and the unemployed to pay for the capitalist crisis, the government's business-friendly policies have allowed the super-rich to get richer. The 1,000 richest individuals in the UK saw their collective wealth soar by a staggering £60.2 billion in 2011 (an 18% rise over 2010), to an unbelievable £395.8 billion.
Clearly, inequality and an ever-widening wealth gap go hand in hand with capitalism. And it shows that a fundamental shift in wealth and power from the ruling elite to the majority - ie socialism - is essential to end poverty and inequality.
In The Socialist 12 October 2011:
Socialist Party youth and students
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party fundraising
The Socialist - readers' comments