Oxfam Budget response: Budget has not gone far enough to close the huge gap between the richest and the rest

19th Mar 2014

In response to the Chancellor's comments during his Budget speech, that income inequality is at its lowest level in the UK for over 20 years, Katy Wright, Oxfam's Head of UK Policy, made the following statement. 

"There are many ways to measure inequality, but the fact is the incomes of the richest have outstripped those of the rest four times over during the last two decades. We welcome the fact the chancellor is taking inequality seriously, but he's a long way off being able to claim victory.

"We're living in a deeply divided Britain, where just five families have the same wealth as over 12 million of the UK's poorest people. We'd be surprised if any government would be comfortable with this disparity, especially at a time when half a million people are being forced to visit foodbanks. 

"The increase in personal tax allowances will actually do little for the working poor - who will see the majority of any gains taken away as benefits are clawed back - and they will make higher earners even better off.

"Whilst we welcome continued efforts to clamp down on tax dodging, this Budget has not gone far enough to close the huge gap between the richest and the rest. As we get closer to a 2015 election, the questions around inequality will only rise - and they are questions we hope all parties will work hard to answer." 

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Katy Wright is available for interviews on College Green. 
For more information or to arrange please contact: Sarah Dransfield, Oxfam Senior Press Officer, on 01865 472269, 07767 085636 or email sdransfield@oxfam.org.uk