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Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2010

The 2010 annual report on the state of poverty and social exclusion in the United Kingdom from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the New Policy Institute.

Written by:
Anushree Parekh, Tom MacInnes and Peter Kenway
Date published:

Each report, using official government data, is built around a set of 50 indicators. The analysis covers a wide range of issues, ranging from low income, worklessness and debt, to ill-health, poor education and problems in communities.

This report focuses on the 18-month recession of 2008 and 2009. Whilst highlighting recent success in preventing poverty worsening, it draws attention to several longstanding problems, including unemployment. It is too soon for the data in this report to reflect any impact of new policies from the Coalition Government, but it describes the subjects any new anti-poverty programme will need to address to match the scale and scope of the challenge. Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2010 is an essential resource for policy-makers and others wanting to take stock of what is happening and understand the challenges ahead.


Key points

  • By mid-2010, almost 2.5m people in the UK were unemployed, slightly more than in 2009. In total, around 6m were unemployed, 'economically inactive' but wanting work, or employed part-time and unable to find full-time work.
  • By 2008/09, 13m people were in poverty. Of these, 5.8m (44% of the total) were in 'deep poverty' (household income at least one-third below the poverty line), the highest proportion on record.
  • Despite the recession, the number of children in poverty in workless families fell in 2008/09, to 1.6m, the lowest since 1984, but those in working families rose slightly to 2.1m, the highest on record.
  • The numbers of 16-year-olds lacking five GCSEs at any level and of 19-year-olds lacking a level 2 qualification fell in 2009, and are lower than any time in the previous decade.
  • By mid-2010, the unemployment rate among those aged16–24 was, at 20%, the highest in 18 years, and three times that for other adults. After the last recession (1993), the rate was 16%, twice as high as for the rest of the population.
  • While Jobseeker's Allowance claimants peaked at 1.6m in 2009, 4.2m people (one in eight of the economically active population) claimed at least once in the two years from the start of the recession in spring 2008.
  • The government's many challenges include in-work poverty, the number of children/young adults with few/no qualifications, young adult unemployment, health inequalities and low-income households' lack of access to essential services.