The income gap in the Netherlands is getting wider, researchers say

The gap between rich and poor in the Netherlands has increased over the past 35 years, according to researchers at Amsterdam University.

The financial position of the 10% of the population with the lowest incomes worsened by about 30% between 1977 and 2011, while the rest had more to spend, the research, quoted by the Volkskrant, shows.

The main reason for the deterioration in the position of low income households is cuts in social security benefits.

In 1977, the richest 10% of the population earned 5.1 times as much as the poorest 10%. But by 2011 this had stretched to 8.2%, the research showed. Growth was fastest in the second half of the 1980s when the minimum wage and benefits were frozen.

The current coalition government has made reducing the income gap a central part of its policies and is increasing the tax burden on the better off.