Friday, 27 June 2014

Super-rich get even richer


Ryan Fletcher in the Morning Star

BRITAIN’S richest 20 per cent are the only ones enjoying Chancellor Osborne’s economic recovery as incomes slumped for working families last year, official figures revealed yesterday. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that disposable income had increased by £940 for the richest fifth of households between 2011/12 and 2012/13, while the disposable income of all the other groups fell by around £250. The poorest households experienced the sharpest fall of all with a loss of £381. 

The highest earning fifth of households now have incomes £30,000 more than average household earnings.

Left economist Andrew Fisher blasted crowing Tories for failing ordinary people.

He told the Star: “It is clear that this is a recovery for those at the top, while the majority see their living standards eroded.

“Not only is our economy failing to create enough decent jobs, our tax system is failing to redistribute wealth.”

The ONS also pointed out that 52 per cent of households received more in benefits (including services such as education) than they paid in taxes.

In response Mum v Austerity blogger Bernadette Horton said the government should get tough on poverty-wage employers who exploit the in-work benefits system at the expense of taxpayers.

She said: “People like myself on tax credits are being hit hard. My local foodbank has seen a 30 per cent increase in the attendance of working people.

“We need living wages and living hours rather than zero-hours contracts. It sounds simple and it is. The government needs to reel employers in.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady also warned that the government is leaving people behind in favour of big business and the rich.

She said: “The gap between rich and poor is growing again after a brief post-crash pause.

“The return of rising inequality should worry everyone as it suggests that nothing has been learned from the financial crisis despite the huge fall in living standards that so many people are still experiencing.”

The ONS figures came as analysts XpertHR reported that pay deals have been in decline as workers take the brunt of corporate greed.

The study showed a median pay increase in the three months to May of 2 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2014.

Only two out of five agreements were worth the same or more than the 2.4 per cent May RPI inflation figure.
Settlements in the public sector were around 1 per cent, with one in seven workers having their pay frozen.

Ms O’Grady commented: “This slowdown in pay awards is yet further evidence of the cost of living crisis gripping Britain’s workers.

“Only a few at the top seem to be sharing in the recovery.”

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