Seven million Brits living in 'persistent poverty'

30th July 2019


Web uk poverty istock 696233772

Related Topics

Related tags

  • UK government ,
  • Society ,
  • Sustainable Development Goals

Author

Julia Davies

There are seven million people that have been living in poverty for at least two of the last three years in Britain, research by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) has found.

In a report published yesterday, the SMC also revealed how there are 4.5 million people living in “deep poverty“, which means their income is 50% below the official breadline.

As for overall poverty, a total of 14.3 million people are affected, including 8.3 million working-age adults, 4.6 million children and 1.3 million pension-age adults.

The findings show how far the government must go to deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 for poverty, and come almost a year after the SMC proposed a new measurement that considers income, housing, childcare and disability costs

“For too many years there has been a divisive debate about how to measure poverty, which has distracted focus from the action needed,“ SMC chair, Philippa Stroud, said.

“There are significant differences in the experience of poverty among different groups – these new findings highlight the urgent need for a more united and concerted approach.“

Despite these differences, the researchers found that overall rates of poverty have changed relatively little this millennium. The current rate is 22%, which is only slightly lower than the 24% recorded in 2000/01.

Nearly half of people in poverty – totalling 6.8 million – live in a family where someone is disabled, while the poverty rate for families where all adults work part-time is 58%, compared with 10% for full-time workers.

And 46% of people in families with a black head of household are in poverty, compared with 37% for families with an Asian head of the house, and 19% for a white head of household.

However, 76% of people in poverty live in families with a head of household who is white.

Compared to the UK average of 22%, poverty rates are slightly higher in Wales and London on 24% and 28% respectively. The rate is 18% in the South East and 20% in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“It is concerning that overall poverty has remained at almost the same level since the early 2000s under governments of all colours,“ Stroud continued.

“Decisions made by policymakers can have a significant impact on who is in poverty and how deep and persistent that poverty is.“

Image credit: ©iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

IEMA reviews political party manifestos

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

Consumers are flexing their purchasing power in support of more sustainable products and services. Dr Andrew Coburn, CEO of sustainability intelligence and analytics firm, Risilience, considers the risk of greenwashing and sets out three key steps businesses can take to avoid the pitfalls and meet the opportunities of changing consumer demand.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

While biodiversity net gain is now making inroads, marine net gain is still in its infancy. Ed Walker explores the balance between enabling development and safeguarding our marine environment

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close