Thursday, 20 May 2010

Income up, Poverty Down, in 1stYear of Recession. Thanks to Labour...

George Osborne said today that the ConDem Coalition will keep Labour's target to halve child poverty by 2010-11. Thanks in the main to the policies of the outgoing labour Government, progress continues to be made in the fight against poverty.  Figures released by the Department of Work and Pensions reveal that, even during the recession, wages continued to rise and poverty continued to fall.

These outcomes are welcome, if suprising, but they did not happen by accident. One abiding feature of Labour since 1997 has been the focus on ensuring that the impact of events on the poorer in society were understood and combatted where possible. The target to eliminate child poverty by 2020 was a real commitment and the aim of policy and energy over many years.

The last time the Tories were in power poverty doubled and child poverty tripled. If they are really serious about adopting and achieving Labour's targets they will have to engineer a change in their basic philosophy of selfishnesss and letting markets rip, and they will have to change their policy stance on benefits, targetting and the place and legitimacy of trades unions in the worklplace.

The reductions in poverty over that last ten years were a lasting achievement of the Blair/Brown era, and they were caused by real policy initiatives and real focus on the problems of reducing poverty. The Tories will have to undergo a sea-change if they are to achieve anything like the Labour successes in this area. I hope they do, for the sake of the low paid, pensioners and children living in poverty and for the good of society as a whole.

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