The growing divide between the poor and the rich is probably the most significant social change to have occurred under 18 years of Conservative government. The New Labour government inherited a country more unequal than at any other time since the Second World War. This book brings together a collection of contributions on the pressing issue of tackling inequalities in society. This chapter introduces the main themes of the book, describing inequality, poverty, and politics; the New Labour government; equality and distribution; the third way and modern welfare; social cohesion; and economic efficiency. The book is based around two central themes. First, the New Labour government has responded to the increasing spatial concentrations of poverty and inequality by introducing area-based policies to deal with the lack of opportunities in deprived areas. The second theme of the book is the use and interpretation of official statistics.
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