Report shows 13 million live in poverty, alongside increase in insecure and low paid work

26 November 2014

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) ‘damning’ report released on 24 Nov, reveals a rise in poverty amongst those in work and those aged under 25 compared to ten years ago. According to the study, half of those living in poverty are in working families, 1.4 Million are in zero-hour contracts, and only one fifth of low paid employees have been able to move out of low paid work in the last ten years.

The report, ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2014’ was carried out by the New Policy Institute, and identifies that the lack of social housing and rise in insecure tenancies in the private rented sector is the most common cause of homelessness, and increased poverty amongst young people. The average wages for men and women have dropped, and incomes are lower on average than a decade ago. Those who are lowest paid have seen the biggest decrease in wages by nearly 10 per cent.

JRF also reports that: ‘the welfare system and public services are not delivering as well as they should be – and can vary vastly from one area of the country to another’. For example it was found that: ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants are now more likely to be sanctioned for not attending the Work Programme than to get a job through it’, and over 60,000 disabled people were made to wait over nine months for their ESA claim to be assessed.

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF stated: ‘This year’s report shows a real change in UKsociety over a relatively short period of time. We are concerned that the economic recovery we face will still have so many people living in poverty. It is a risk, waste and cost we cannot afford: we will never reach our full economic potential with so many people struggling to make ends meet.

‘A comprehensive strategy is needed to tackle poverty in the UK. It must tackle the root causes of poverty, such as low pay and the high cost of essentials. This research in particular demonstrates that affordable housing has to be part of the answer to tackling poverty: all main political parties need to focus now on providing more decent, affordable homes for people on low incomes.’