Destitution in the UK

Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Glen Bramley, Filip Sosenko, Janice Blenkinsopp, Sarah Johnsen, Mandy Littlewood, Gina Netto and Beth Watts

This report defines destitution in the UK, looking at how many people are affected, who they are, and the main pathways in and out of destitution. It looks at the impact and experience of those people directly affected.

Some people perceive that destitution is increasing in the UK. Media attention on the prevalence of extreme hardship, and the increased use of food banks in particular, is indicative of increased concerns. Yet evidence on the causes, scale, trends and distribution of destitution in the UK is difficult to find, as is data on the characteristics of those affected and the impact it has on them.

The report considers:

  • how 'destitution' should be defined in the contemporary UK context;
  • how much destitution there is in the UK;
  • who is affected by destitution;
  • how this has changed over time;
  • the main pathways into and out of destitution;
  • the experiences and impacts of destitution for the people directly affected.


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