Poor families deeper in poverty than seven years ago

After housing costs are considered, poor families are now on average £73 a week below the poverty line.


Poor families are deeper in poverty than they were seven years ago, a new study suggests.

After housing costs are taken into account, poor families are now on average £73 a week below the poverty line, up from £56 in 2012/13, said the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

According to the report, the number of children in poverty in households where all parents work full-time has doubled to 400,000 in the same period.

The group said the poverty gap for lone parents has increased by over a third since 2013 amid a real-terms cut in benefits.

The CPAG said its analysis was based on government figures, adding that relative poverty was measured as living on less than 60% of median income.

The gap is also said to be consistently higher for couple-households compared to lone parents, although since 2013 the poverty gap for lone parents has risen by 36%, reducing the difference considerably.

CPAG suggests that this is “unsurprising”, given that since 2013 benefits have been cut in real terms causing particularly heavy losses for lone parents who derive a higher share of their income from benefits.

The poverty gap (AHC) grew between 2012/13 to 2017/18 for all family types who are poor – for couples where both partners work, where one partner and neither partner works and for lone parents whether they work or not.

As reported by 24housing just last week, a report released by the Resolution Foundation reinforced the link between social renting and in-work poverty – with social-housing tenants in work said to be twice as likely to live in poverty than homeowners and those in the private-rented sector.

It was released within hours of Government announcing its ‘First Homes’ policy setting out plans to cut the cost of some new homes by a third to encourage more people onto the property ladder.

On reports, Child Poverty Action Group CEO Alison Garnham said: “We know that the number of children in poverty is rising – and at risk of reaching a record high – but poor families are also deeper in poverty than they were just seven years ago.

“That should sound alarm bells for a Government committed to ‘levelling up’ because it means families in poverty are further away from escaping it.

“Many of these families are living well below the poverty line. Their children are going without the basics of a good childhood with all the lost opportunities that brings for them and for our wider economy.

“Our new Government has committed to reducing child poverty. It must now bring forward clear policies for achieving this.”

Responding to the report, Sophie Walker CEO of the Young Women’s Trust added: “It is shameful that not only are children in Britain today living below the poverty line, but they are being pushed deeper and deeper into poverty too.

“This is what happens when austerity policies have time and time again failed to take account of women, who are disproportionately more likely to be lone parents, carers and relying on insecure employment.

She added that analysis of their own research shows that 40% of young women struggle to make ends meet every month – with one in four skipping meals every day to make ends meet.

“Women’s poverty is at heart of so much of UK’s poverty, and thoughtless policies have plunged spiralling numbers of young women into poverty, with those with children worst affected”, Walker said.

With a Cabinet reshuffle currently underway today (13th February), Walker added that she hopes the Ministers appointed understand the “enormity of the task ahead of them”.

“The key to unlocking poverty in Britain is by unlocking women’s poverty and they do not have the time to wait”, she said.

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