Labour accused of losing equality fight

    The Labour government has failed to make Britain a fair and just
    society, according to a report by think-tank the Institute of
    Public Policy Research.

    “Parental social class and ethnicity still heavily influence
    life-chances, whilst democratic participation is falling and
    political influence is polarised according to class and wealth,”
    says the report.

    The document comes 10 years after the Commission for Social Justice
    was set up to put the fight against inequality at the heart of the
    Labour Party’s agenda.

    The report finds that the UK still has a poor record on child
    poverty. In 2001 – the latest year for which figures are available
    – 23 per cent of children were living in UK homes earning below 60
    per cent of the median income, compared with 5 per cent in Denmark,
    10 per cent in Sweden and 14 per cent in Germany.

    “The next five years are likely to be politically critical,” said
    IPPR director Nick Pearce. “The government needs to lead the debate
    more firmly in a progressive direction.

    “Despite the boldness of its pledge to eradicate child poverty and
    the expansion of investment in public services, the government does
    not consistently articulate and publicly advocate a fairer, more
    equal Britain,” he added.

    The report praises the government’s efforts in tackling
    unemployment and reducing child poverty.

    The final version of the report will be published in
    November.

    – The State of the Nation is available from www.ippr.org

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