Latest Public Sector News

09.12.13

More poor households working than not – JRF

There are more working households living in poverty than non-working ones, new research suggests. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion’ report showed that just over half of all households surviving on less than 60% of the national median income were in work.

The New Policy Institute report tracked income, education and social security, and includes government data. It found that working adults without dependent children were the most likely to be living in poverty, but both child and pensioner poverty are at all-time lows.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of JRF, said: “We have a labour market that lacks pay and protection, with jobs offering precious little security and paltry wages that are insufficient to make ends meet.

“While a recovery may be gathering momentum in the statistics and official forecasts, for those at the bottom, improving pay and prospects remain a mirage.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves said: “It's not right that millions of people are going out to work, working harder and harder, and can't afford to bring up their families.”

But a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Despite claims to the contrary, work absolutely remains the best route out poverty – children in workless families are around three times more likely to be in poverty than those in working families.

“Our welfare reforms are designed to further increase work incentives and improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the [new benefit system] Universal Credit making three million households better off.”

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