3. Poverty

Poverty has increased in recent years and work provides no guarantee of financial security. More than 8 million of those living in poverty in 2016/17 had at least one paid worker in their family. Poverty is also rising among children and pensioners as well as the working age population.

3.1  According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2018 Poverty report, poverty is rising for all groups, including those in work. Indeed, work no longer guarantees a route out of poverty – if, indeed, it ever did. In 2016/17, 14 million people were living in poverty (incomes below 60% median After Housing Costs) in the UK. More than 4 million of these were children, a rise of 500,000 since 2011/12; and 2 million of these were pensioners. More than 8 million of those living in poverty had at least one person in paid work in their family.

3.2  Workers in four types of industry have particularly high rates of poverty: accommodation and food services (25%); agriculture, forestry and fishing (23%); administrative and support services (22%); and, wholesale and retail (18%).

Source: Family Resources Survey

3.3  Relative poverty among pensioners and children actually declined during the recession as average earnings fell and the social security system protected the most vulnerable. But poverty is now increasing again among these groups.

3.4  Means-tested benefits for people out of work are failing ever more to help people reach a Minimum Income Standard, according to research by the University of Loughborough. In 2009, a lone parent with one child received two thirds of what she needed. Ten years later, she received less than half. Similarly, in 2009, a single working age adult would have received 42 per cent of what was needed. A decade letter it was less than a third (32 per cent).

Source: University of Loughborough

3.5  The Trussell Trust gave out more than 1.5 million emergency food parcels in 2018/19.

Source: Trussell Trust