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Eliminating poverty

By Stephen Nickell   May 2010

For a rich economy, Britain has high rates of relative poverty. A household is in poverty if its income, corrected for its composition, is less than 60 per cent of median income. Of British households headed by someone of working age, a little over 20 per cent are in poverty—much greater than the rate in Sweden, for instance.

The problem is the large body of working-age Britons with very low skills. This group is around 23 per cent of the working-age population, more than twice as many as in Sweden. Given the kind of market-based economy that we live in,…

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