Almost 700,000 people in the UK, including 120,000 children, have been plunged into poverty as a result of the Covid economic crisis, according to the Legatum Institute, a thinktank, analysis. Of the 700,000 people newly in poverty, just over half had incomes up to 25% below the poverty line, 160,000 were between 35% and 50% below, and 270,000 had slipped more than 50% below, known as “deep poverty”.
An additional 700,000 people had been prevented from falling below the breadline by the chancellor’s temporary £20-a-week boost to universal credit, introduced in April to help claimants cope with the extra costs of the pandemic.
Some non-working claimants who received the £20-a-week top-up have been effectively pulled out of poverty in recent months, the analysis shows, including 100,000 in lone-parent families and 170,000 within workless families.
Overall, the pandemic has pushed the total number of people in the UK living in poverty to more than 15 million – 23% of the population – according to the institute.