The price of essential goods is more important to levels of poverty than differences in income levels, a leading think tank said today. Governments’ obsession with misleading poverty targets has led to an ever increasing welfare budget that simply imbeds dependence, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said. Instead, protectionist measures like the EU’s common agricultural policy should be dropped along with excessive regulation, lowering prices, it argues in the report. More could be done to simplify the tax system and incentivise the poor to enter the jobs market, it found. “People trapped in dependency have continued to struggle as the price of many essential goods such as housing has risen,” said the author Kristian Niemietz.