Tag Archives: joseph rowntree foundation

Poverty in the UK is deepening – how should Lib Dems respond?

Poverty in the UK is deepening.

We knew this, we can see it all around us in the rise of expanded food banks, the active community charities, the special price reductions on basic supermarket foods and the increase of homelessness. But now Joseph Rowntree Foundation in its annual report on poverty levels reveals the grim facts.

More than one in five people in the UK, 22%. 14.4 million, are living in poverty, having less than 60% of the UK average for the type of household they are in after adjusting for housing costs. And 6 million of them were in very deep poverty at the last count, having less than 40% of the UK average – a category that has increased by 1.5m over the past two decades.

The report says:

A couple with two children under 14 living in very deep poverty would need an additional £12,800 a year – more than double their household income – to get out of poverty.

Of the 14.4 million people living in poverty, 8.1 million were working age adults, 4.2 million were children, and 2.1 million were pensioners. Around three in every ten children in the UK live in poverty, and the proportion rose between 20/21 and 21/22, as did overall poverty. The report says that poverty rates across the different groups has returned to around their pre-Pandemic levels.

Of the different groups affected, informal carers were much more likely that those households with no caring responsibilities to be living in poverty: 28% compared with 20%. In 2021/2 nearly one in ten adults, 4.8 million people, were informal carers.

Around two-thirds of working age adults in poverty lived in a household where someone was in work, evidently unable to get out of poverty through employment.

Among the worst affected groups were Pakistani and Bangladeshi households, around half of whom were living in poverty, compared with 19% of households headed by someone of white ethnicity.

After recording these grave findings, the Report says:

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Unwarranted Conservative complacency at PMQs

It was astonishing to hear the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announcing with pride during his set-to with Labour Leader Keir Starmer at Wednesday’s Prime Minister Questions that “Two million more people have risen from poverty in the years of the Conservative governments.”

Poverty is normally measured relative to near contemporary median income. This is the most commonly used measure. For example the latest figures are for 2020/21 and 13.4 million are in relative poverty, after housing costs (as reported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation), where relative poverty is 60% of median income. Rishi Sunak is using absolute low income which is based on 60% of the median income back in 2010/11, uprated by inflation. This is not a good way to measure poverty as the base year seems arbitrary. In 2010/11 there were 13.1 million people living in poverty using both measurements.

There was a decline in the number living in relative poverty in 2020/21 because of Covid.  Down from 14.5 million and 22% in 2019/20. This was because median income fell due to the work furlough scheme, where the Government paid 80% of the salary of those on furlough because of Covid, and those on Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit received an extra £20 a week.

Poverty in Britain has in fact remained stubbornly high at around 20% of the population during the past decade. When housing costs are taken into account, the estimated number of people in relatively low income households dropped from 13.5 million (22%) to 13.4 million (20%) between 2009/10 and 2020/21.

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The Independent View: The case for ‘bedroom tax’ reform is clear – the test is for Lib Dems to take it up

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 15.25.47In physics the conservation principle dictates that in closed systems, energy can neither be created or destroyed, but only turned from one form to another. New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examining recent welfare reforms suggest that a similar law applies to housing support costs.

Applying size limits to social tenants – better known as the spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’ – aimed to do three things. Reduce costs; ease overcrowding and introduce greater fairness into the system. Specifically, if you were a social tenant with extra space that you didn’t strictly need you should pay for the advantage like all other people with housing costs.

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A trio of damning reports on impact of Government’s welfare reforms

Joseph Rowntree FoundationThree reports published today on the impacts of the Coalition Government’s welfare reforms should concern anyone who is interested in creating a fairer society.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation publishes two reports on wider welfare reform in general and the Bedroom Tax in particular which should inform those who are responsible for the Liberal Democrat manifesto as well as our ministers.

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Lib Dem attitudes to poverty and welfare: 3 interesting findings from today’s Joseph Rowntree Foundation report

Three interesting findings from today’s report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) — Public attitudes to poverty and welfare 1983-2011 — carried out by NatCen Social Research, exploring public attitudes to poverty and welfare over the past three decades.

1) Interestingly… Lib Dem supporters are less likely than Labour supporters to believe that people live in need because of laziness or a lack of willpower.

nat cen jrf laziness

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Don Foster MP writes… The Integration Strategy: one year on

The Government’s Integration Strategy, Creating the Conditions for Integration was published a year ago on 21 February 2012. Since becoming a minister a few months ago, this is one of the areas about which I’ve had some of the strongest feedback from party members.

The views I’ve heard range from “the strategy is welcome, but not enough” to “it isn’t a serious substitute for a strategy to tackle racism and racial injustice”. Some have said that the document skates over the fact that integration is a two way process of mutual accommodation. Those with this view argue that there’s …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes: Buildings are the key to reducing carbon emissions

We risk losing our battle against climate change unless we make the built environment more sustainable. That was the message I gave the audience at a Greening our Homes seminar arranged by the Policy Exchange Think Tank yesterday. It’s a stark message, but is backed up by the facts. Around half of all the carbon emissions the UK produces each year come from buildings, with our homes contributing 27% on their own. By contrast, only 15% come from our cars, so we could reduce our carbon emissions by a greater amount with a two-thirds cut in emissions from the residential sector than by taking all our cars off the road.

Yet, when compared to sustainable transport, like electric cars, or renewable forms of energy, the built environment gets scant mention. But if we’re committed to being the greenest government ever, we need to do it in the most practical and cost-effective way we can. That means buildings.

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Opinion: the Liberal Democrats should support a Living Wage

The Living Wage is a term which has gained ground in mainstream politics over the past year or so. Ed Miliband has used it in attempts to forge his political identity. Boris Johnson has spokenof his support for the concept and would like to see it introduced in London and David Cameron has said it is an idea whose time has come.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a salary of £14,400 is the minimum a single person needs for an acceptable standard of living. This figure includes not only the basics in life, but covers what …

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Opinion: Making VAT fair

It has become fashionable in the last few days to describe VAT as a “regressive”, and by implication unfair, tax. This is usually followed by complaint about how hypocritical it is of the Liberal Democrats to agree to an increase in its rate.

But VAT is not, by the simplest definition, a regressive tax. A regressive tax is one where the rate of taxation decreases as the value of the thing being taxed increases. A progressive tax is the other way round. Income tax is progressive, because those on higher incomes pay a higher rate of tax on it. Council tax …

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What the papers say…

A look back at the last few days of news and comment in the National newspapers, by former Fleet Street News Editor (and former Editor of Liberal News), Philip Young… including a few clippings you may have missed.

Sunday Times, 6.12.09:

“A Tory peer has been caught using someone else’s home address to claim tens of thousands of pounds in expenses. Lord Taylor of Warwick, a 57-year-old former barrister, told the House of Lords that his main home was a terrace house in Oxford, which he neither owned nor lived in. Taylor has lived in his family home …

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