Fri 8 May 2009, The Independent

Sean O'Grady: This exposes Labour's poverty of ambition

By Sean O'Grady
That relative poverty – the gap between rich and poor rather than the absolute availability of basic necessities – should be higher than it was when Harold Macmillan was prime minister is a galling discovery. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a sort of non-partisan unofficial opposition party equipped with massive brainpower, tells us that the distance between our richest and our least fortunate citizens is as high as it has been since their data starts, in 1961. Which leaves open the possibility that Brown's Britain may be more unequal than we were before the creation of the NHS and the modern welfare state. Supermac's misquoted catchphrase was "you've never had it so good"; Gordon Brown's might be that "you've never had it so bad" – if you have the misfortune to be poor.
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