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Child poverty

Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2014

Our annual assessment of progress in tackling poverty and disadvantage across the UK.

Written by:
Tom MacInnes et al
Date published:

This annual report, written by the New Policy Institute (NPI), tells the definitive story of how the UK’s economic recovery is affecting people in poverty, and reveals dramatic changes in who is most at risk compared to ten years ago.

The report focuses on money, housing, work, benefits and services, among other indicators. The key points are highlighted in the infographic and summary below.


Key points

  • Household incomes fell in real terms for the third year in a row. Median income in 2012/13 was 9 per cent below where it was in 2007/08 and 4 per cent lower than a decade ago. Incomes of the bottom tenth have fallen further and for longer and are now 8 per cent below their level in 2002/03.
  • Unemployment fell by 300,000 in the last year and the number unemployed for over a year fell for the first time in a decade. The number of people working part time but wanting a full-time job also fell, by 50,000, also the first fall in ten years.
  • At the same time, wages have fallen, for men and women, working full and part time, for low and high earners. The average full-time hourly pay for men has fallen from £13.90 to £12.90, after adjusting for inflation. For women, it has fallen from £10.80 to £10.30.
  • The report shows the movement between worklessness and low pay – two thirds of those in work now but unemployed a year ago are in low-paid work.
  • Changes to the way the welfare system operates have worsened the experience of poverty for many of those affected – whether through rising sanctions, longer waits for assessment or poor job outcomes through welfare-to-work programmes.
  • Legal support for social welfare cases has been almost completely withdrawn. As well as cutting support to people with debt and housing problems, this leaves people powerless to challenge incorrect decisions related to their benefits.
  • There are now as many people in poverty in the private rented sector as the social rented sector (around 4m in both). The private rented sector is increasingly insecure – the number of repossessions in the private rented sector is rising while mortgage repossessions are falling.
  • Child poverty is still highest in cities, but urban areas now appear to be better at providing a decent level of education than rural areas. Unemployment rose right across the country during the recession. Some of the biggest rises were in places where unemployment was already high, with some big rises in smaller cities and towns.