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New figures show that last year the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer.

New figures published today (Tuesday) by the Office for National Statistics shows that the government needs new policies to reduce income inequality, says the TUC.

The figures show that in 2017/18 disposable income for the bottom fifth of households was down by 1.7%, compared to a rise of 4.7% for the top fifth.

Household income quintile






Change in disposable income






Source: ONS, 2017/18

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“If the economy was working well, low-income households would be catching up with those at the top. But the gulf between rich and poor is widening. 

“We need to redesign the economy to make it work for everyone. The government can do more by reversing cuts to family support and raising the minimum wage to £10.”

Editors note

- The full ONS release published today, ‘The effects of taxes and benefits on household income, disposable income estimate: 2018’, can be found here:

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

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