The extent of in-work poverty is laid bare in a new Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) report today, which highlights the insecurity faced by millions of working people.
The annual Monitoring Poverty report, written by the New Policy Institute (NPI), highlights the dynamic nature of poverty, caused in the main by people moving in and out of jobs, and an underemployed workforce.
The report shows the close links between the two, and found:
But people move in and out of work, and in and out of poverty, as the findings show:
At the same time, changes to the benefit system will result in lower incomes for some of the most vulnerable people in society. The report shows how large numbers of families are to be hit by a combination of different cuts. These overlapping effects are something to which government has paid little attention.
Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF, said: "The most distinctive characteristic of poverty today is the very high number of working people who are also poor. Many more people have experienced poverty since the downturn, cycling in and out of insecure, short-term and poorly paid jobs. Tackling poverty requires a comprehensive strategy, but overcoming the frail jobs market must be the starting point."
Peter Kenway, Director of NPI, said: "This year's report challenges the myths surrounding poverty. Changes across five decades demonstrate poverty is not inevitable – reductions in child and pensioner poverty show that. The much cited 'never-worked' households actually only make up a very small part of the total number of workless households. The high level of in-work poverty undermines any idea that better incentives to enter work, the centrepiece of Universal Credit, is some kind of cure-all."