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Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2016

JRF Report from the New Policy Institute brings together the most recent data to present a comprehensive picture of poverty in the UK.



Key points


  • In 2014/15, there were 13.5 million people living in low-income households, 21% of the UK population. This proportion has barely changed since 2002/03.
  • The number of private renters in poverty has doubled over the last decade. There are now as many private renters in poverty as social renters. Rent accounts for at least a third of income for more than 70% of private renters in poverty.
  • The number of households accepted as homeless and the number of households in temporary accommodation have both increased for five years in a row. Evictions by landlords are near a ten‑year high.
  • The proportion of working-age adults in employment is at a record high. Full-time employees account for 62% of the growth in jobs since 2010. The proportion of young adults who are unemployed is the lowest since 2005.
  • The number of people in poverty in a working family is 55% – a record high. Four-fifths of the adults in these families are themselves working, some 3.8 million workers. Those adults that are not working are predominantly looking after children.
  • 1.4 million children are in long-term workless households, down 280,000 in four years. Excluding lone parent families with a child under five, 55% of these children have a disabled adult in their household.
  • Once account is taken of the higher costs faced by those who are disabled, half of people living in poverty are either themselves disabled or are living with a disabled person in their household.


On many indicators, the UK economy has now recovered from the financial crisis and prolonged period of stagnation. If this recovery turns into a period of sustained growth, it is important that those on low incomes share in it and feel the gains. But we must also consider how the economy and the state can be restructured to prevent poverty in the first place. Great progress has been made reducing pensioner poverty, but progress on child poverty is at risk. Housing in the UK is too often expensive and of poor quality, particularly in the private rented sector. Work, although the best defence against low income, is too often insufficient. The social security system has become less effective for those with housing costs and Council Tax to pay. If these problems can be addressed, then many more people will share in the UK’s prosperity.