Poverty doubles over 30 years in UK

The percentage of households in the UK who are below society’s minimum standard of living has increased from 14% to 33% over the last 30 years, according to a new study of poverty and deprivation.

The percentage of households in the UK who are below society’s minimum standard of living has increased from 14% to 33% over the last 30 years, according to a new study of poverty and deprivation.

Most children in poor families have at least one parent who is in work, which contradicts claims that a job is automatically the route out of poverty. It also shows that 17% of employed adults are poor.

The new study, part of The Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE) project, shows that 18 million people cannot afford adequate housing, one in three people cannot afford to heat their homes properly in winter and 5.5 million adults don’t have essential clothing.

The doubling in the number of people who live below the minimum standard of living has come over a time period in which the size of the British economy has also doubled.

The study is more evidence for the argument that British workers are subject to a low pay and insecure economy. For millions of workers pay has stagnated whilst the cost of living has risen. It is no longer the case that employment is simply enough to move people from poverty to a minimum standard of living. The idea that poverty would decrease as the economy grew has not happened, according to the study.

Nearly half the people who are in work, but are poor, work as many as 40 hours or more a week. 35% of adults who are employed are in what is called ‘exclusionary work’, which means that they are in poverty, in low quality work and/or have been unemployed for extended periods in the last five years.

The study suggests that although unemployment is still a  major cause of poverty, the government is not doing enough to deal with the problem of poverty in work.

Nick Bailey, from the University of Glasgow, said:

“The UK government continues to ignore the working poor ; they do not have adequate policies to address this growing problem.”

Professor David Gordon, from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, said:

“The Coalition Government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty. Their strategy has clearly failed. The available high quality scientific evidence shows that poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.”

The study describes how many households are struggling to make ends meet and adults are cutting back on their own food so other family members can eat. As many as 28% of adults have eaten less for financial reasons, but over half a million children aren’t getting enough food.

Professor Jonathan Bradsh aw, from the University of York, said:

“The research has shown that in many households parents sacrifice their own welfare – going without adequate food, clothing or a social life – in order to try to protect their children from poverty and deprivation.”

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10 Responses to “Poverty doubles over 30 years in UK”

  1. Leon Wolfeson

    Who’s surprised? I mean except the Coalition. And Labour.

  2. davidhill

    Politicians long-term have only themselves to blame for a country’s poverty through their decision making and the bed pals that they keep.

    ‘The UK’s and the USA’s ‘per capita Decline’ in Living Standards for more than 90% of the people is due entirely to our political classes’ Inept Management of their respective economies and the Control that Powerful Corporations have over our political leaders. Unfortunately with the Emerging Dominant Asian Economies this will lead to even more extreme poverty for 9 out of every 10 of both the British and American people’ –

  3. John

    Eastern doesn’t mean poor. China has made huge strides in eliminating poverty in it’s country, and Japan has a better record than America that way.

  4. davidhill

    No way. Don’t you know that there are still over 400 million without any jobs in China (1/3rd of their population and more than the USA total population and equivalent to the population of EU28 -. Read up first before you make comments that clearly you have no knowledge of. Japan also has millions in poverty and it is only that their government massage their social figures that it appears to be better than the USA. In reality it is not. Ask a Japanese friend if you have one?

  5. John

    The only japanese friends are have haven’t been to Japan in some time. I DO have a friend who visits but tourists don’t see the accuracy of their figures.

    I am unaware of the Japanese massaging their social figures; something I shall look into. It’s certainly plausible.

    However considering where China was 50 years ago, that’s a HUGE step forward. Even that short a time ago, almost ALL of their country was poor. Now, just a third. And now that the Chinese are getting money they are pushing for better standards. Even for those in the country. It’s happening now, so it’s more difficult to see than that which recently occured but I can assure you; it IS happening.

    As for Japan being better than America; AMERICA massages it’s figures. A LOT. we just hear about it more. If they didn’t, American would be a third-world country for social mobility, equality and division of wealth.

    I DO agree with your basic point, however. It just comes across as racist. Or perhaps xenophobic (the article; not you)

    We are where we are due to the interference of the business elite; the ones with the money and the time to pressure the politicions of the day over a long period for their own ends.

  6. davidhill

    If you read my blog you will start to begin to understand how the corporate world with their financial and economic clout have taken over our political classes. Indeed when according to Forbes a mere 2,000 of them controlled 51% of the total economic trade last year (leaving 49% of the world’s economic turnover to the rest of the world), you start to appreciate what has happened with this vast corporate take-over of democracy has occurred over the past 3–years (no more as modern globalization did not really exist in the volume as it does today. My piece certainly is not racist or xenophobic, but purely informative. If you cannot understand the difference then you are too young as yet.

  7. John

    You speak of the threat of the East and declare immigration as stupid as people get old. Is your age clouding your eyes as well?

    I DO understand how coporate might influences politics and erodes democracy; indeed I submitted a paper on this subject at university for my Politics and Economics module

    “How democracy and Capitalism are not equitable systems when coexisting within the same Nation-State”

    The main thrust of my argument is that Capitalism, with it’s focus on the empowerment of one (you) and Democracy with its focus on the empowerment of many were antagonistic towards each other, and the system can only be sustained when the many are happy with the few becominig rich; a situation only possible in growth periods.

    Thus it is in receissions only that people object. A fact we saw, and still see, now.

    In an ideal world, business leaders are democratically elected by their workers; it’s the only way I can see of unifying the two systems. The chances of this occuring, however, are slim.

  8. davidhill

    Keep to your thinking and thesis. Age does not cloud the issues but through experience and greater knowledge, we learn what is the truth and what is not. Good luck to you.

  9. John

    You unwilling to consider it?

    There are none so blind as those who refuse to see

    How about

    Youth can be forgiven for not knowing what it is to be old, but Age must always remember what it is to be young.

    I shall, as you urge, retain some vague optimism for the future. It helps me get up in the morning.

  10. davidhill

    I am glad that you can take solace.

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