More than 4 million people in the UK are trapped in deep poverty, meaning their income is at least 50% below the official breadline, struggling to afford the most basic living essentials, an independent study has shown.
Also 7 million people, including 2.3 million children, were affected by what it termed persistent poverty, meaning that they were not only in poverty but had been for at least two of the previous three years.
It found that of 14.3 million in the UK in poverty, 4.5 million were in deep poverty – a third of all those on the breadline, and 7% of the population. In cash terms this means a couple with two children would have an income of less than £211 a week after housing costs, and a single parent with one child would be on less than £101.50 a week.
Campaigners said the commission showed austerity had undermined two decades of anti-poverty policy. “By cutting £40bn a year from our work and pensions budget through cuts and freezes to tax credits and benefits, the government has put progress into reverse,” said Alison Garnham, the chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group.