Poverty Fingertip Facts

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Since 2012 there has been a 358% rise in zero hour contracts

Zero hour contracts peaked in 2015 at 2.1 million. 2017 saw the number begin to rise again upto 1.8 million and increasing

The nature of the zero hour contracts means the employer can circumvent employment rights

Universal Credit was intended to be gradual and the rollout was expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The complexity of managing and applying the system has meant that roll out is now expected to complete by 2023.

Approximately 11% of intended recipients have been moved to Universal Credit by December 2017 (0.7 million out of 5.5 million)

The DWP had estimated administration costs for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be £2.2 billion. By August 2014 this estimate rose to £12.8 billion and was later increased to £15.8 billion.

A single parent with two children, working full-time on or around the minimum wage, could be £2,500 a year worse off

In-work poverty has increased and in areas where UC has been introduced

Benefit fraud and errors have increased

Fourteen million people are in poverty in the UK – that is over one in five of the population (22%)

Eight million working-age adults, four million children and two million pensioners are living in poverty

In 2017 one-and-a-half million people lived in destitution in the UK, which means they could not afford to have what we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean. And 365,000 of those destitute were children

More than one-and-a-half million people were destitute in the UK at some point during 2017, including over a third of a million children

In 2018 30% of children were living in relative poverty and the figure is increasing

4.1 million children were living in poverty as of 2018

3.1 million of the children living in poverty have working parents, an increase of over 50% since 2010 when the figure stood at 2.1 million

Child poverty in some inner-city areas is as high as 50%

When Labour entered government in 1997 child poverty stood at 27% and rising. This was compared with 13% when the Tories entered government in 1979

From 2010 under a Labour government poverty started a downward trajectory, standing at 20% in 2010 and still falling. This amounted to 900,000 children taken out of poverty over that period

When Labout entered government in 1997 absolute poverty was at 26.1% and rising. By 2009/10 absolute poverty stood at 12.4%

The target set by Labour was to end child poverty by 2020 (and they were pretty much on target)

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimates that absolute child poverty will increase by a further 4% by 2022

The Tories have scrapped the Labour targets and moved to a model of stigmatising poverty rather than ending it

The last Labour government slashed pensioner poverty

Under the Tory government rates have began to rise again. New measures targeting pensioner credit will create further hardship

For those in social housing, the poverty rate peaked at 54% in 1996/97 and fell to 20% during the Labour 1997-2010 government

Since 2010 pensioner poverty in social housing had risen to 31% by 2016/17 and is on an upwards trajectory

Government figures indicate that 40,000 pensioners will lose an average of £5500 per year due to changes in pension credit

The UK has the lowest state pension of the 39 OECD countries and one of the highest retirement ages

In-work poverty is higher than at any time in the last 20 years

The number of workers in poverty has increased at a faster rate than the total number of people in employment

The rise in in-work poverty over the last five years has been driven almost entirely by the increase in the poverty rate of working parents. A working parent is over one-and-a-half times more likely to be in poverty than a working non-parent

Poverty comes at a cost
+Higher costs for credit +Using pre-payment meters +Paying to access money +Paying to receive paper bills +Not switched to best fuel tariff +Not paying by cheapest billing method +Insuring specific items +Insurance premiums related to where people live +Higher tax in proportion to income


The average low-income household in 2016 paid a poverty premium of £490 per year

The poverty premium can be more severe for the poorest rising as high as over £2000 per year

The lowest tenth of earners pay an average of 47.6 per cent of their income in the form of income tax, national insurance, VAT and council tax. This tax burden has increased by 4.4% since 2008-9 and is an upward trend as the Tories move towards direct local taxes

The richest 10 per cent see around a third (33.5 per cent) of their income go to the taxman

Council tax and VAT were found to hit the poorest households particularly hard. Low earners pay an average of seven per cent of their income in council tax while the wealthiest households pay just 1.5 per cent

The poor pay 12.5 per cent of their income on VAT while the rich pay five per cent

The Tories raised VAT by 5p in the pound, hitting the poorest the hardest. They had intended to raise VAT by a further 2.5%, but cancelled the policy due to protests from businesses

Council tax is set to hit the poorest even harder as the government implements its latest rounds of cuts to local authorities


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