This is the 2019/20 edition of JRF’s annual report on the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and how it affects people who are caught in its grip.
There has been little change in overall poverty levels for more than 15 years, rising between 2013/14 and 2016/17, before reducing slightly in the latest year’s data, but remaining higher than in 2014/15. Around 14 million people are in poverty in the UK (more than one in five of the population) made up of 8 million working-age adults, 4 million children and 2 million pensioners.
The report describes how:
- Over the last five years, poverty rates have risen for children and pensioners. Poverty rates are highest in London, the North of England, Midlands and Wales, and lowest in the South (excluding London), Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Although growing employment and earnings have protected many working-age adults from rising poverty, in-work poverty has risen, because often people’s pay, hours, or both, are not enough. More than three in five people in poverty are in a working family, compared with less than half 20 years ago.
- Reductions in interest rates have led to cheaper mortgages, reducing poverty rates for people buying with a mortgage. This contrasts with rising housing costs for renters.
- Once extra-cost disability benefits are discounted, nearly half of all individuals in poverty live in a household where someone is disabled.
- Poverty (measured after housing costs) fell slightly in 2017/18 compared with 2016/17 because of three housing-related factors: social sector rents in England were reduced by 1%; the proportion of homes being bought with a mortgage (which often have lower housing costs than renting) increased slightly, while the proportion being privately rented fell; and actual private rents fell in some areas.
For more information and to download the report as a pdf go to the JRF website (opens in a new tab)