Income of the poorest fell 6% in Eighties
While the average household, after housing costs, saw real disposable income rise by 30 per cent from 1979, the poorest 10 per cent saw theirs fall by 6 per cent.
The figures do not even cover those living rough, or the homeless in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Their numbers have both risen. Michael Meacher, Labour's social security spokesman, said last night that the figures 'explode the Tories' trickle- down myth' - the theory that the least well-off gain automatically as the better-off do better.
The Households Below Average Income statistics show that the share of total income enjoyed by the poorest 10 per cent of households dropped by well over a third - from 4 per cent in 1979 to 2.5 per cent in 1988/89.
The statistics do not compare how the top 10 per cent fared; but as the bottom half saw their income share fall from 32 to 27 per cent, those at the top plainly did far better.
The statistics also reveal the changing nature of the bottom 10 per cent. They now contain fewer pensioners but many more unemployed families.
Peter Lilley, the Secretary of State for Social Security, said the figures showed 'the success of Government economic policies in increasing prosperity for the population as a whole'. Overall, income rose 30 per cent on average, while unemployment increased by 15 per cent.
Mr Lilley attributed part of the fall for the bottom 10 per cent to the growth in the self-employed, many of whom declare nil or negative incomes in the early stages. They 'dragged down' the figures. DSS figures show, however, that the proportion of the self-employed in that group rose only from 12 to 17 per cent.
Mr Meacher said the figures 'refute the Conservative claim that everyone gained in the 1980s', showing instead that inequality had widened. The proportion of households on below half the average income jumped from 9 to 22 per cent, up from five million to 12 million people.
'The Conservative strategy of helping the poor by letting the rich help themselves has utterly failed,' Mr Meacher said, adding that the recession would make the picture even bleaker.
Mr Lilley pointed to significantly higher ownership of videos, fridge-freezers and central heating among the bottom 10 per cent.
Audit HBAI; HMSO; pounds 9.95
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
- 5 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence referendum live: Markets rush to gamble on vote with final poll showing eight-point lead for No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...