Poorest and youngest suffer as poverty rises and living standards tumble

Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK, which was funded by JRF, Head of Poverty Research Chris Goulden said:

“This research provides further proof that a shortage of affordable homes and the high cost of renting or buying a home is pushing hundreds of thousands more people into absolute poverty: 600,000 more people have found out what life is like below the poverty line after paying their housing costs.

“Over the past year young people aged between 22 – 30 in particular have fared the worst, seeing the sharpest rise of those now living in poverty. This is in contrast to pensioners, who the IFS say face relatively favourable conditions. The progress in reducing pensioner poverty shows what can be done with sustained effort - a principle that must apply across all age groups.

“The IFS report makes clear the worst is yet to come for struggling households: this year’s figures do not factor in the large scale welfare cuts introduced from April 2013. Even at a time where resources are limited, measures can be taken to reduce the hardship now facing almost a quarter of households.

“We need a comprehensive strategy and sufficient political will to get to grips with poverty. That means addressing low pay, the high cost of essentials, such as housing and childcare, and reform to the tax and benefits system to ensure work is a route out of poverty.”