Think-Tank Reports Less Poverty but Less Equality under Blair

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The gap between rich and poor has widened since Tony Blair became Prime Minister, an influential think-tank revealed.

Fewer people are living in poverty than in 1997, an Institute of Public Policy Research study shows. But Britain has become a less equal society since Labour came to power, the Rethinking Social Justice report said.

And where the UK has become fairer that has been achieved 'by stealth', according to IPPR director Nick Pearce.

The findings come a decade on from the first report by the IPPR's Commission on Social Justice, set up at the request of late Labour leader John Smith. The party drew heavily on that study in the run-up to the 1997 election and the IPPR will be producing a full updated audit in the autumn ahead of the poll expected next May.

Britons on the whole are healthier, living longer and less likely to be victims of crime, the report says. But the UK is still far from fair with people's lives largely determined by the social class of their parents and the colour of their skin.

With fewer people voting the better off have more political influence. …