300,000 more families are living in poverty now than in 2019, highlighting once more how Tory claims of ‘levelling up’ are just rhetoric.
The poorest 50% of families in the UK have seen their disposable incomes squeezed by an average of £110 in real terms compared to 2019, while the top 5% of families have seen gains of more than £3,300, according to new analysis.
The research, published by the New Economics Foundation, found that 300,000 more families were living in poverty now than in 2019, highlighting once more how the Tory claims of ‘levelling up’ are just rhetoric.
The report also highlights how government measures to protect the UK during the pandemic, provided the least amount of support for the poorest. It adds: “The universal credit uplift was much less generous than top-ups seen in other advanced economies, and those on legacy benefits such as job seeker’s allowance and employment support allowance in the UK saw no increase at all.”
While the poorest are worse off, the richest 5% are better off by £3,300. According to the report windfall gains for the richest 5% have been seven times higher than for anyone else in the top half of the distribution.
There has also been a rise in inequality between regions. The analysis found that: “Disposable real incomes have barely risen in the north-east at all since December 2019 (less than £20 per year, or less than 0.1%). Similarly, the north-west and Merseyside (£80, 0.2%), Yorkshire and the Humber (£90, 0.3%) and Northern Ireland (also £90, 0.3%) have barely fared better.
“At the same time, disposable real incomes in London have increased by more than £600 per year (1.3%) and by more than £550 in the south-east (1.1%).”
Single parents were the only family type to see a fall in real income across all regions, though single parent families in Yorkshire and the Humber and the north-west and Merseyside saw their real incomes fall by around 15 times as much as in London.
Far from levelling up, the government is failing society’s poorest.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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