Prosperity and Poverty in the UK

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Prosperity and Poverty in the UK

In recent years growth of the UK economy has been dramatic as even minute increases in a country's growth rate can result in remarkable changes in living standards over just one generation. The average family can now expect, cars, technologically advanced entertainment, further education for its children and a longer life than ever. Has the less fortunate been left behind as the rest of society has prospered. Recent economic research has found both positive and negative relationships between growth and inequality not just in the UK but also throughout the world.

There is no questioning that the UK as a whole has become more prosperous. The British economy
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This then dropped back to 4.5% in 1985 while the proportion living below 140% of supplementary benefit level increased from 22.0 to 30.5% of the population. Nevertheless, the number of persons and families thus defined by some commentators as living in poverty clearly depends on the changing levels of social assistance benefit. Fierce controversy has raged during recent years over the extent to which the increasing numbers of ‘low income families’ during the 1980s can be explained in terms of increases in the real value of social assistance benefits (CPAG, 1998, p.8).

There was little evidence to show that these high rates of poverty had been declining during the 1980’s and poverty in the UK is much less of a novelty than in contrast to countries such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands as social insurance benefits in the UK have during the post-war period been set at a relatively low level. In consequence, a significant proportion of the population has been dependent on social assistance, the nearest thing that exists to an ‘official’ definition of poverty. This has helped to ensure that poverty has remained an issue in public debate for most of this period.

However it should be noted that after the completion of the Single Market, with increased employment and free trade the UK managed to keep its poverty rates below the average of
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