Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has warned that the Government must do more as new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the average income of the poorest fifth of the population after inflation fell by 1.6% in the last financial year ending in 2018, while the average income of the richest fifth rose by 4.7%.
Last year saw a “levelling off” of income after it had been rising at an average of 2.2% a year since 2013, the ONS said, with pensioner household income at £23,900 last year. The ONS revealed that income inequality increased slightly last year with the rise among the top earners driven by improvements in pay – The Whitehall statistics body (ONS) singled out the falling average value of cash benefits for the poorest households (mainly in-work households) as the main driver behind the decline in their income, while a rise in earnings from employment lifted the income of the richest.
The highest 1% of earners in the country have, however, managed to protect their share of total household disposable income over the past seven years, with the richest 1% of the population controlling 7.1% of total household disposable income.
The overall health of household finances across the country suggests that welfare cuts imposed by the government have made inequalities worse at a time of mounting political and economic divisions. Separate analysis has previously shown the Brexit vote damaged average household incomes, after the sharp drop in the pound immediately after the referendum result drove higher inflation, outstripping wage rises.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“The evidence presented by the ONS paints a picture of surging income inequality showing that this Tory government is not creating an economy that works for the many, but that instead works just for a few.
“The next Labour government will be committed to a fair taxation system, and building an inclusive, transformative economy.”