A Joseph Rowntree Foundation study on poverty and social exclusion reveals a drop of 16% in 1994 to 13% in 1997.
Only a quarter of county councils help more over-65s live at home than average compared with two-thirds of mets and London boroughs.
Exclusions from secondary schools have risen fourfold since 1990 and births to school-age mothers have reached their highest ever level. The gap between rich and poor was widening again when Labour came to power, after a modest decline in the middle years of John Major's administration.
Monitoring poverty and social exclusion is available from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tel: 01904 430033.