DIVIDED BRITAIN; as the Tories Gather in Birmingham for Their Annual Conference, We Can Reveal the TRUE Gulf between the Rich and Poor under Cameron's Two-Nation Government

Sunday Mirror (London, England), October 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

DIVIDED BRITAIN; as the Tories Gather in Birmingham for Their Annual Conference, We Can Reveal the TRUE Gulf between the Rich and Poor under Cameron's Two-Nation Government


Byline: STEPHEN HAYWARD s.hayward@sundaymirror.co.uk

THE true scale of two-nation Britain is laid bare today by new figures which show the vast gulf between rich and poor.

Research for the Sunday Mirror which compares the pay, job and education prospects of those living in areas represented by senior Tory ministers with people in the rest of the country reveals a stark economic divide. In a damning indictment of David Cameron's failed economic policies, it shows that in those areas not represented by Tory ministers: Unemployment rates are 70 per cent higher.

Workers are paid an average PS5,000 a year less.

Twice as many young people have been jobless for more than a year.

A third more youngsters have no qualifications at all.

The new evidence comes to light only days after Labour leader Ed Miliband evoked the One Nation slogan of Victorian Tory Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and promised to rebuild Britain as a nation no longer divided between millionaires, bankers and the rest.

In his speech to the Labour party conference, he attacked the reduction of the top rate of tax for people on more than PS150,000 a year saying: "That's the reality in Britain today. It's a rebate for the top... it's a rip-off for everybody else."

Mr Miliband has promised to join the TUC-organised A Future That Works march on October 20, which will protest against the Coalition's austerity measures while calling for an alternative economic strategy that puts jobs and growth first.

FAILING TUC leader Brendan Barber says that the deep divide will almost certainly widen over the coming years as the cuts continue. He warned: "This government is turning our country into a two-nation Britain where those in power are so out of touch they cannot see how tough a time most people are having."

Labour work and pensions spokesman Liam Byrne said: "This out-of-touch government's failing policies have left some areas of Britain with over 45 people chasing every job. That's why this week, along with great Labour authorities around the country, I launched Labour's Youth Jobs Taskforce to help get Britain's young people back to work, wherever they live."

TUC analysis of income, unemployment and educational attainment in all 650 parliamentary seats shows that cuts to employment support for young people are being felt far more keenly outside ministers' constituencies, with twice as many 16-24-year-olds out of work for over a year.

As youth unemployment stands at a record 1.02 million, the TUC is concerned that cuts in support for young people to further their education or find work after the scrapping of educational maintenance allowance are heaviest in areas already hit hard by mass unemployment. With total unemployment at 2.59 million, there are nearly ten times as many young people on the dole in Ladywood, Birmingham, where the Tory party conference opens today, than in Maidenhead, Berks, the wealthy town represented by Tory Home Secretary Theresa May.

DESPERATE And our research shows that families in areas represented by Cabinet Tory MPs earn around PS5,000 a year more the average income of PS31,300 elsewhere.

Mr Barber added: "Ministers seem to be in denial about the scale of our jobless crisis, probably because in the areas they represent they're much less likely to meet someone who is desperate for a job than in places like inner-city Birmingham, where mass joblessness risks permanently damaging big numbers of young people."

Separate figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development earlier this year revealed that Britain has the fifth worst inequality gap in the developed world behind Mexico, Chile, Turkey and the US.

COMMENT: Page 14 Dole claimants: 1,216 People on dole for more than a year: 265 Number of young dole claimants: 310 Average pay: PS38,385 Percentage of people with no qualifications or skills: 6. …

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