Britain faces return to Victorian levels of poverty


Andrew Grice
The Independent
December 1, 2009

[efoods]Labour’s strategy for tackling poverty has reached the end of the road and Britain risks a return to Victorian levels of inequality, according to a major two-year study seen by The Independent.

With 20 per cent of the population still stuck in poverty, the report calls for sweeping reform of the tax and welfare systems under which higher earners would finance more generous, universal benefits. The £43,888-a-year ceiling on national insurance contributions (NICs) would be abolished, so people earning more would pay NICs at 11 per cent on all their income above that level, instead of the current 1 per cent.

The study, by the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society and Webb Memorial Trust, argues that Gordon Brown’s “quiet redistribution” of wealth now lacks public support – and declares that one of the reasons is Labour’s tough language about benefit fraud and claimants.

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