Housing crisis fuels workers’ poverty

Published by Hannah Nemeth on 08 December 2016.
Last updated on 08 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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