Almost 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners are now living in poverty than in 2012/13 and very little progress has been made in reducing poverty among working-age adults, according to a new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
UK Poverty 2017 examines how UK poverty has changed over the last 20 years, providing what it says is the most comprehensive and up to date picture of the challenges and prospects facing low income families in modern Britain.
The report charts how 20 years ago, a third of children lived in poverty; this fell to 27% in 2011/12. In 1994/95, 28% of pensioners lived in poverty, falling to 13% in 2011/12. These falls were achieved by higher employment rates; more generous support for families through tax credits; and extra help for poorer pensioners, says the report.
Following the financial crisis of 2007/8 poverty rates remained stable, it adds, but changes to welfare policy – especially since the 2015 Budget – have seen poverty rates rise.
The report says the squeeze on living standards risks storing up problems for the future, with people being caught in a ‘standstill generation’ trapped in in-work poverty and unable to progress. It calculates that 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work. One in eight workers, 3.7 million people, live in poverty and 40% of working-age adults with no qualifications are living in poverty. Many are struggling to afford a home, face rising costs and are falling behind with bills.