Poverty is rising - Policy Institute report


Poverty is rising once more among all age groups and deepening. This is the overall finding of 'What happened to poverty under the coalition', a new report by the New Policy Institute (NPI) - a UK research institute which produces evidence-based research on a range of social and economic issues.

NPI hopes that the report's publication might provide an opportunity to have the subject of poverty discussed during the election campaign.  It also stresses the need for the next Government to develop policies to stop poverty rising and deepening.

Estimates of the combined effects of changes that have taken place since the latest published poverty statistics

'What happened to poverty under the coalition' presents the NPI's estimates of the latest headline poverty statistics for the United Kingdom, for the financial year ending in March 2015. Starting with the latest published poverty statistics, for 2012/13, NPI has estimated the combined effects of the changes that have taken place since then in terms of:

  • the size and mix of the population
  • the levels of employment and earnings,
  • the value of benefits and tax allowances.

What has happened to poverty?

NPI say that the conclusion is clear: poverty in the UK is rising once more; it is rising among all age groups; and it is also deepening.

Three specific points highlighted in the study suggest that 2013 may have been a turning point:

  • Incomes in the middle are rising once more.
  • Pensioner poverty is rising after a long period during which it fell steadily
  • Poverty among tenants in the social rented sector also rose after many years in which it was falling while poverty in the private rented sector rose..

The challenge for the next Government

In past recoveries, this is the moment when people on the lowest incomes get left behind as the top and the middle start to pull away. Because this recovery has been so delayed, the estimated poverty rate in this government's final year is the same as it was in the last one's final year. If a recovery takes hold, the next government will need explicit pro-poor policies to stop poverty both rising and deepening.

Comment from NPI's research director

Tom MacInnes, NPI's research director, told the Guardian newspaper: "The clear conclusion is that poverty in the UK is rising among all age groups. The trajectory over the second half of the coalition's term has been a bad one. The next government, whoever wins next week, will be dealing with worsening, deepening poverty."

Sources: New Policy Institute: Summary of the report: 'What happened to poverty under the Coalition and The Guardian: Poverty – and child poverty in particular – is rising

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Date of publication: 30 April 2015