As Johann Lamont’s Labour Cuts Commission lead an assault on universal benefits, Linda Fabiani MSP has highlighted figures showing that, during Labour’s 13 years in power, the gap between rich and poor in
the UK grew wider.
Linda Fabiani slammed Labour’s record in office as UK government statistics showed that the real-terms gap in incomes between the highest and lowest earners grew by a staggering £237 per week between 1997 and 2010.
The Households Below Average Income Survey, published by the Department of Work and Pensions, shows that the incomes of the poorest 10% of UK households grew by just £24 per week in real terms over Labour’s 13 years in power.
By contrast, the income of the top 10% of households increased by ten times that figure, going up from £897 to £1,153 per week (an increase of £256).
Commenting on the figures, Ms Fabiani said:
“Following Johann Lamont’s establishment of the Labour Cuts Commission to attack universal benefits, these figures serve to confirm that Labour has lost its way on social justice a long time ago.
“Ms Lamont’s remarks about Scots living in a ‘something for nothing country’ represent a new low for a party that once prided itself on representing hard working people.
“But in their 13 years in power at Westminster the gap between rich and poor actually grew.
“Labour in Wales is not going to change their policy on free prescriptions – and are even committed to it in their next manifesto. But in stark contrast, Labour in Scotland is in thrall to the party leadership in London, and their ‘ruthless’ approach to cutting public spending.
“No wonder Labour members in Scotland are now looking at the merits of voting Yes in the independence referendum and have formed the ‘Labour for Independence group’.”
In 1997/98 the average weekly income of the 10% lowest income
households was £146. By 2009/10, this had increased to £168. An
increase of £22 or 15% of the 1997/98 figure
In 1997/98 the average weekly income of the 10% highest income
households was £916. By 2009/10, this had increased to £1,153. An
increase of £237 or 26% of the 1997/98 figure
(all figures in 2010/11 prices)