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GOVERNMENT DELIVERS IN FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY - DARLING

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For the first time in a generation poorer households are sharing ...
For the first time in a generation poorer households are sharing

equally in the nation's rising prosperity, work and pensions

Secretary Alistair Darling said today.

As the 2000/01 Households Below Average Income (HBAI) report was

published Mr Darling pointed to the fact that people in the bottom

fifth income bracket have seen their household incomes rise

significantly since 1997.

'We promised that everyone would share in the nation's rising

prosperity and that is happening. The least well off are, for the

first time in years, sharing equally in our economic prosperity.

'In the four years to 2000/01 the incomes of the poorest 20% of

society grew at the same rate as the best off 20%. For the previous

eighteen years the picture was very different. Then the incomes of

the top 20% grew 30 times faster than those of the least well

off.'

The report also shows that there has been a fall of more than 4

million in the numbers living below the absolute poverty threshold.

'This government's approach to combating poverty is paying off,' Mr

Darling continued.

'Over four million fewer people - more than a quarter of those with low

incomes in 1996/7 - now live below the 'absolute poverty' threshold

we established at the beginning of the government's period in office.

That's 1.4 million fewer children and over one million fewer

pensioners living in absolute poverty.

'And there are strong signs that we are reversing the trend of rising

relative poverty that we inherited, with one million fewer people

living in relative poverty than when we came to office.'

'Poverty has no place in the fourth largest economy in the world. I

am proud of this government's commitment to eradicating poverty and

the advances we've made. The foundations are in place. We can do

more, and we will.'

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