Poverty gap is widest in Britain

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The Independent Online
The gap between rich and poor has been widening more in Britain than anywhere in the European Union, a report due for release by the European Commission today suggests.

Numbers of families living below the poverty line as a proportion of the population rose from 14.3% to 17.2% during the decade 1983 to 1993, by far the biggest increase. The poverty line is defined as half the average income for the country as a whole and the report puts Britain ahead only of the four most deprived EU members-Spain Portugal Greece and Ireland. By contrast only 5% of househoulds in the Benelux states fall below the poverty line.