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Poorest families 14% worse off

THE INCOMES of the poorest 10 per cent of the population fell by 14 per cent in real terms between 1979 and 1991, according to government figures released yesterday, writes Rosie Waterhouse. The decline in income after housing costs is more than double the fall revealed by the Department of Social Security for 1989, which showed the poorest 10 per cent suffered a 6 per cent drop since 1979.

The figures revealed in the annual Households Below Average Incomes survey showed a staggering decline in incomes of the poorest households, Donald Dewar, Labour's social security spokesman, said. 'The poor have got poorer under the Conservatives. While average incomes for the population as a whole have risen by more than a third, the poor have seen their incomes fall in real terms. Inequalities have widened and the poor have received a declining share of national income.'

According to Labour's analysis of the figures, the poorest 10 per cent saw their share of the national income almost halved from 4 per cent in 1979 to 2.1 per cent in 1990-91; and the poorest half saw their share fall from 32 per cent to 25 per cent.