Housing crisis fuels workers’ poverty

8 December 2016

One in eight workers in the UK is now living in poverty as a result of the high cost of renting, new research has revealed.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2016, which says that 7.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, live in poverty despite being in a working family.

It reports that a record high of 55% of people in poverty are in working households and that in-work poverty has risen by 1.1 million since 2010/11 when the economic recovery began.


The report highlights the high cost of rent and insecurity in the private rented sector endured by people living in poverty, adding that 73% of people in the bottom fifth of the income distribution pay more than a third of their income in rent in the private sector. This compares to 28% of owner-occupiers and 50% of social renters who earn.

Helen Barnard, head of analysis at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, says: “The UK economy is not working for low-income families. The economy has been growing since 2010, but during this time high rents, low wages and cuts to working-age benefits mean that many families, including working households, have actually seen their risk of poverty grow.

“Families who are just about managing urgently need action to drive up real-term wages, provide more genuinely affordable homes and fill the gap caused by cuts to Universal Credit, which will cost a working family of four almost £1,000 per year.”



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