A mother carrying her daughter along the pavement outside a block of council flats

2.4m people living in destitution in the UK

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has released it’s bi-annual report into destitution across the UK which has shown a significant increase since their last report.

In 2019, there were 2.4m people in live in destitution, a 54% increase on 2017 figures, showing that the UK’s tackling of poverty issues in the UK are not adequate to tackle the problem.

 The study also revealed that 14% of people classed as living in destitution were in employment, with many of those people having had their situations worsened by Covid due to be being in precarious employment such as zero hours contracts.

The JR Foundation is working with Government to ensure that the £20 uplift for Universal Credit will be made permanent following it’s introduction at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March.

Helen Barnard, Director of JRF said:

“It is appalling that so many people are going through this distressing and degrading experience, and we should not tolerate it. No one in our society should be unable to afford to eat or keep clean and sheltered. We can and must do more.

“The pandemic has shown just how much we want to look out for each other in difficult times, but the sobering truth is that even before Covid-19 hit, the number of people in destitution was rising sharply.

“The Government can act now to confirm that the £20 boost added to Universal Credit will be made permanent and extended to people receiving legacy benefits. And by working with people with experience of receiving social security, the Government can re-design our systems so that they keep people afloat, rather than drag people down.”

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