This book is about inequality, how the State affects distribution through its spending programmes and through taxation, and what the public thinks of these three issues. It describes and analyses one of the biggest social changes in Britain since the Second World War: the dramatic widening of the income distribution since the end of the 1970s, the growth of poverty, and the factors that have driven them. And it examines how government social spending and the taxesthat pay for it affect this distribution, and why they take the forms they do. Each part of the discussion is set in the context of public attitudes as revealed by the rigorous and long-running British Social Attitudes survey, and of Britain's position by comparison with other countries. Against this background, the book analyses changes in policy since New Labour came to government in 1997, discusses the impacts of these changes, and looks at the constraints and pressures on future policies, before concluding with a discussion of the dilemmas facing policy-makers as they try to meet competing aims in reducing poverty and inequality, growing demands on social spending, and the constraints and opportunities created by public attitudes.