Poorest `better off than ever'

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Indy Politics
Britain's poorest households are better off than ever because of increases in spending on health, education and other public services, a report from the Social Market Foundation, a market-oriented independent think-tank, said yesterday, writes Nicholas Timmins.

The report challenges the findings of last week's study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which argued that the bottom 20 to 30 per cent of the population had not gained from recent economic growth.

Without looking at "benefits in kind" - the NHS, education, free school meals and welfare milk, housing and travel subsidies - "it is difficult to support the inquiry's central conclusion," the foundation said.

tThe Rowntree Inquiry and `Trickle Down', SMF, 20 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1. £5