Magazine article Public Finance

Inequality Gap 'Has Reached Record Levels'

Magazine article Public Finance

Inequality Gap 'Has Reached Record Levels'

Article excerpt

The gap between rich and poor is wider now than at any time since the Second World War. despite a decade's worth of government programmes aimed at overcoming socioeconomic inequality, experts have said.

The first report of the National Equality Panel, convened by equalities minister Harriet Harman. found that 13 years of Labour public policy and billions of pounds of investment had failed to bridge the gulf.

The panel's chair, Professor John Hills, told Public Finance that two of the biggest changes affecting the equality cause over the next few years would be 'rebalancing the public finances' mid whether any tax changes were targeted at low or high earners.

Hills, who is director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and a professor at the London School of Economics, said he 'rejected the idea that public policies can't make a difference', and called for action on education, earnings and the distribution of taxes and spending.

The January 27 report concluded that 'there remained deep-seated and systematic differences in economic outcomes between social groups', which included men and women, and people from different ethnic backgrounds and social classes. …

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