The Egalitarian Coalition
I have a column in The Independent today with which some people do not agree. Which is interesting, because it is mostly factual, reporting two sets of figures that were published in June and July this year.
They suggest that the gap between rich and poor has, if anything, narrowed under the Coalition Government.
The links to the original data are in the article, but I repeat them here for those who want to pursue the findings, which are, I admit, hard to believe.
Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK 2012, The Institute for Fiscal Studies, has the data for the distribution of post-tax incomes for 2010-11, showing that it became more equal that year than under the Labour government.
Wealth and Assets Survey 2008-10, Office for National Statistics, Chapter 2, has the figures for the distribution of wealth, comparing 2006-08 and 2008-10, and showing that the distribution became more equal.
These do not say anything about the Coalition’s record, of course, but they are important because they are the first official figures since the old Inland Revenue figures, based on inheritance tax returns, were discontinued after 2003, because they were “clearly anomalous”.
What they do show is that the distribution of wealth appears to be stable, which is consistent with the old data, which showed an increase in inequality in the 1980s, followed by a period of no significant change. And, as I say in the article, we would not expect the trend to change, as there have not been dramatic changes in the economy or the tax system.
I have discussed both sets of statistics on this blog before: the incomes data here; the wealth data here; the general mythology here; the misreporting of OECD data here; and the Treasury’s inability to back up claims by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor here.Tagged in: equality, inequality
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