Youngsters and elderly sink into poverty


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's annual report has revealed that poverty rises are occurring which have not been seen for 20 years

4th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people have fallen into relative poverty in the last four years.

Shocking findings from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have revealed that an additional 700,000 children and pensioners are now living in households with less than 60% of the UK median income.

The charity said that such sustained rises in poverty amongst young people and the elderly had not been seen in several decades.

UK Poverty 2017 has shown that there are now 3.7 million workers living in poverty, which equates to one in eight of all workers.

Almost half of working adults on low incomes (47%) spend more than a third of their income on housing costs.

Chief executive Campbell Robb said: “These worrying figures suggest that we are at a turning point in our fight against poverty. Political choices, wage stagnation and economic uncertainty mean that hundreds of thousands more people are now struggling to make ends meet. This is a very real warning sign that our hard-fought progress is in peril.

“Action to tackle child and pensioner poverty has provided millions of families with better living standards and financial security. However record employment is not leading to lower poverty, changes to benefits and tax credits are reducing incomes and crippling costs are squeezing budgets to breaking point.”

The foundation said new threats are emerging to people in the poorest fifth of households, including becoming trapped in in-work poverty. This is where at least one person in the household is employed but the family is struggling to be able to afford a home, rising living costs, bills or saving for retirement.

The report found that changes to welfare policies have reduced financial breathing space for families, with stagnant wages for many low earners.

Rachael Orr, head of the charity’s UK programme, added: “It’s not just working adults who are affected, but their children too, and it’s a real worry to see progress on child poverty going into reverse.

“The government needs to make sure that work pays, so hard working families are not falling below the poverty line. Its Industrial Strategy, published last week, would have been a good place to start, but sadly was a missed opportunity.”

A government spokesman said: “We are spending an extra £4.2 billion on pensioners, carers and disabled people next year, and continue to spend around £90 billion a year supporting people of working age, including those who are out of work or on a low income."