Labour's strategy for tackling poverty has reached the end of the road and Britain risks a return to Victorian levels of inequality, according to a major two-year study seen by The Independent.
20 per cent of the population still stuck in poverty.
Mr Horton, the Fabian Society's research director, told The Independent: "We could be at a tipping point that sends Britain back towards Victorian levels of inequality and social segregation, and makes the solidarity which could challenge that social segregation ever more difficult to recover." He added: "Inequality in Britain today, on some measures, is at its highest since the early 1960s..."
The value of unemployment benefit has been falling relative to average earnings.
Needless to say the report recommends reforms and palliatives to redress the situation . The report says the original goals of Sir William Beveridge, architect of the welfare state, must be rediscovered.
There never was a golden age of the welfare state. The history of income maintenance in Britain has been the history of coercion, discipline and surveillance.Now new layers of social control has been added.The 'welfare state' is in difficulty across the industrialised world. Despite this, welfare systems will not be dismantled completely — their main aim, after all, is to provide some support for workers who are ill or unemployed so that they might return to the labour market at a later date. They also help mitigate against social unrest.
SOYMB recommends the re-reading of our 1943 pamphlet Beveridge Re-Organises Poverty