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A more equal society?New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion$
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John Hills and Kitty Stewart

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781861345783

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861345783.001.0001

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Changes in poverty and inequality in the UK in international context

Changes in poverty and inequality in the UK in international context

(p.297) Fourteen Changes in poverty and inequality in the UK in international context
A more equal society?

Kitty Stewart

Policy Press

The UK's concern with levels of poverty and social exclusion is not unique. In many European countries, the same issues are a concern. In the Lisbon Summit of the European Council, issues of poverty and social exclusion took centre stage in many EU countries. The Summit asked member states to make a decisive step towards the eradication of poverty. In line with this, EU countries published National Action Plans for Social Inclusion and for the first time Europe had a scorecard for poverty, inequality, and exclusion alongside those for inflation and interest rates. This chapter aims to address questions such as: What are the differences made by the UK's policies to its international standing? Have the changes the Labour government has brought about narrowed gaps with other countries? What are the possible explanations to the failure of the government to narrow the gaps? This chapter begins by examining the changes since 1997 in the indicators of poverty and inequality. The subsequent sections look into the different factors that drive these measurements, seeking possible explanations of persistent differences. The chapter also examines three of the four aspects of anti-poverty policy suggested by the 2003 Joint Inclusion Report. These areas are: employment, support for those unable to work, and public spending on services. The chapter also gives special consideration in each case to how policies affect children in particular.

Keywords:   poverty, social exclusion, inequality, exclusion, employment, indicators of poverty, anti-poverty policy

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