“It’s good news for people on low incomes that the benefits freeze has not yet pushed more people into poverty. However, thirteen million people in poverty is still too many in the world’s seventh richest country. A stronger labour market has helped to push the figures to their lowest level since the 1980’s, which is good news. But there is a risk that people who find it difficult to get into work will be left further behind if support is reduced without action to create more secure and better paid jobs, cheaper housing, increased productivity and a reduction in the cost of living.
“It is particularly worrying to see a rise in the number of disabled people living in poverty – the highest since 1998. This is a collective failing which is locking disabled people and their families out of the benefits of growth. Many disabled people face extra barriers including discrimination when looking for work. It’s crucial that the jobs market provides enough suitable and flexible work for disabled people and their families.
“These figures give us the best available information on what is happening to incomes, but they don’t take into account the high inflation that has meant that many people, particularly those on low incomes, have struggled to make ends meet. We must tackle the causes of high levels of poverty and disadvantage in the UK through a comprehensive strategy involving employers, business and communities, as well as local and national government. Without this we will never achieve our full economic potential.”