Tuesday, December 04, 2018

UK Poverty Rises

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that the number of workers in poverty hit 4 million last year, meaning about one in eight in the economy are now classified as working poor. 

More than 500,000 British workers have been swept into working poverty over the past five years, according to a report that shows the number of people with a job but living below the breadline has risen faster than employment.

Nearly all of the increase comes as growing numbers of working parents find it harder to earn enough money to pay for food, clothing, and accommodation due to weak wage growth, an erosion of welfare support and tax credits and the rising cost of living.

Half a million more children have become trapped in poverty over the past five years as a direct consequence, reaching 4.1 million last year, the charity’s report added. It means that in a typical classroom of 30 children, nine would come from a household in poverty.  JRF report the number of children who slipped into poverty from a working family rose more steeply than at any time for 20 years. It said parents getting stuck in low-paid work, especially in retail and hospitality jobs in hotels, bars, restaurants and shops, were among the drivers for the increase.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said: “We are seeing a rising tide of child poverty as more parents are unable to make ends meet, despite working. This is unacceptable.”

The JRF analysis shows that gains for working families from the rising national living wage have been far outweighed by changes to tax credits and benefits designed to top up low wages. The living wage has steadily risen from £7.20 an hour in 2016 to £7.83 this April and will rise again to £8.21 next April.

Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the tax and spending thinktank, has shown that government cuts made under George Osborne’s policy of austerity have left the poorest 10% in society much worse-off than the richest since 2015.

More than 14 million people are struggling in poverty, or about one in five of the total UK population, according to the JRF. Of these, 8.2 million are working-age adults, 4.1 million are children and 1.9 million are pensioners. Eight million people live in poverty in families where at least one person is in work.


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