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The class nature of inflation

Prices rises affect different income groups differently new figures for Italy show. One more argument for wage hikes for middle and low incomes

New figures show how inflation has hit the worst-off hardest in Italy.

Official data released for the seven years between 2005 and 2012 showed that those with lowest average spending saw it rise 20.2% compared to 16% for those with highest average spending, the statistics agency Istat said.

This new series of official statistics show the impact of price rises on households, differentiated according to their level of spending.

In the first quarter of 2013 those who spent less experienced price increases of 2.5%, while those who spent more saw prices rise by 1.8%. Over the seven years examined, the difference between the poorest and richest was 4%.

The figures show how the burden on the family budget for food and energy products, in particular, decreases with the increase of overall spending.

The distances between the lower and higher spending households widened when inflation accelerated, for example, in 2008, and in October last year, when prices rose by close to 3%.

So what is to be done?

Along with a range of measures to tackle increasing poverty and widening wealth inequality, lower and middle income earners need a decent pay rise.

That will help the long stagnant and now recessionary economy too.

La Repubblica 10.5.2013

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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