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… and the poor get poorer

CHANCELLOR GEORGE Osborne famously claimed that, “We’re all in this together.” But when it comes to wealth and living standards, this simply is not true.
Price rises are outstripping wages and benefits week by week, month by month. The official index for inflation (CPI) rose to 5.2 per cent a year last month. But even this is an underestimate of the real rise in the cost of living. The more reliable (though still conservative) RPI index reported a 5.6 per cent increase – the highest since June 1991.
The highest jumps were in gas, electricity and other fuels, up 18.3 per cent; transport costs, up 12.8 per cent; and food, up 6 per cent. All of these items form a disproportionately high part of low-income families’ and pensioners’ household budgets, especially in winter.
Housing costs are also rapidly spiralling out of control. First time buyers have long been priced out of the market by landlords and property developers. As a result, rents are rising in every region in the UK, according to Shelter. Most tenants now spend more than a third of their incomes on rent alone, which is the official reckoning for housing poverty.
The poor are also the main victims of cuts in education, the NHS, social services and benefits, because they rely on them most and cannot access the private sector.
The wealth gap increased rapidly in the 1980s and ’90s under the previous Tory regime. Disgracefully, Labour allowed it to rise even further until the richest 10 per cent owned 100 times more wealth than the poorest 10 per cent. Now the Tories are back in office, Britain is set to become even more unequal.
No wonder anger at the 1% is rising – only by expropriating their wealth can we redistribute it and abolish the blight of poverty forever.

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