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Deep poverty and destitution

Destitution in the UK - income thresholds for October 2022

This briefing outlines the level of income needed for different household types to prevent them living in destitution. These income levels are extremely low and people living just above these thresholds will still be experiencing significant hardship.

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In Autumn 2023 JRF will be publishing its fourth Destitution in the UK study. People are considered destitute if they have not been able to meet their barest physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. They can also be considered destitute if their income is so extremely low that they are unable to afford to meet these needs themselves rather than rely on charitable provision. As part of that work Professor Glen Bramley (Heriot-Watt University) has recalculated the income levels needed for people to avoid this most severe form of material hardship.

Unsurprisingly, given the rapidly rising cost of living, the threshold at which people experience destitution has increased significantly. For example, we calculated that a single person with an income of £95 or less in October 2022 would experience destitution, compared to £70 in 2019 when last calculated for our third Destitution in the UK study.

Food bank worker sorting a bread delivery.

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