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This Commentary presents a detailed analysis of the latest figures and recent trends. It assesses: what has been happening to the gap between rich and poor in Britain; what impact Labour's policies have had on inequality since 1997; how labour's record stacks up to that of previous governments; how close the government is to meeting its child poverty targets; the latest trends in pensioner poverty; what has happened to poverty amongst groups less favoured by government tax and benefit policies. In addition, the commentary considers the government's new child poverty measure, announced in December 2003. It asks how poverty has changed on this new definition and what targets the government might set to pursue its goals of eliminating child and pensioner poverty.

Click here to access data on living standards, poverty and inequality since 1961 and to view our other annual reports on the topic.