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This Briefing Note provides an update on trends in living standards, income inequality and poverty. It uses the same approach to measuring income and poverty as the government employs in its Households Below Average Income (HBAI) publication. The analysis is based on the latest HBAI figures (published on 27 March 2007), providing information about incomes up to the year 2005-06. The measure of income used is net household weekly income, which has been adjusted to take account of family size ('equivalised'). The income amounts provided below are expressed as the equivalent for a couple with no children, and all changes given are in real terms (i.e. after adjusting for inflation). For the first time in recent years, data are available for the whole of the United Kingdom, not just Great Britain, but data for Northern Ireland are only available from 2002-03. Some comparisons over time are provided for Great Britain only, but others will compare statistics for GB before 2002-03 with those for the UK afterwards.


PLEASE NOTE: On 23 April 2007, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that an error had occurred when producing the latest Households Below Average Income publication. This Briefing Note was based on the same dataset and therefore suffers from similar errors. In response to revisions announced by the DWP in May 2007, we have now updated our findings in a revised press release and have produced a revised summary.


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