equally in the nation's rising prosperity, work and pensions
Secretary Alistair Darling said today.
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
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
'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.'