Tories have failed the poor

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The Independent Online
We welcome your exposure of poverty ("UK most unequal country in the West", 21 July). This year's UN Human Development Report shows that the gap between rich and poor in Britain is the same as Nigeria and twice as bad as in Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. The rise in income for the rich has not brought the much heralded "trickle down" effect. The rich are getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer. While average incomes in the UK grew by 37 per cent between 1979 and 1993, the incomes of the richest 10 per cent grew by 61 per cent and those of the poorest 10 per cent fell by 18 per cent.

The present government has failed to come up with a convincing strategy for tackling poverty. It has specifically rejected a proposal - agreed at the United Nations Social Summit last year - to draw up a national poverty eradication plan.

Mona Patel

Coalition for the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty, London SE5