19 million Brits are on the edge of poverty even though nearly everyone has a job — and it’s going to get worse

LONDON — New research shows that millions more people in Britain are struggling to make ends meet since the financial crisis and predicts that the situation could drastically worsen over the next few years as inflation spikes.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released on Wednesday found that:

  • 30% of the population, 19 million people, are now below the “minimum income standard” [MIS].
  • The number below MIS has risen by 4 million since 2008/9, or a 5 percentage point rise;
  • 11 million people have incomes below 75% of MIS and are at high risk of poverty;
  • 8 million people are just about managing to get by.

MIS is an income benchmark calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University. It is based on extensive surveys of people in the UK, asking them what they believe is a reasonable income.

MIS in 2016 for a single person of working age was £286.53 per week before bills, equivalent to £14,899 a year. For couples, it was £353.21 a week, or £18,366 a year. For a couple with two children, it was £776.28 a week, or £40,366 a year.

These are relatively modest budgets. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found last year that the average income for a childless couple in the UK was £581 in 2014-15, or £30,212. That is over £10,000 more than they need under the MIS system.

The fact that so many people in the UK fall short of this relatively low threshold is alarming.

It also comes at a time when the UK is experiencing record low unemployment levels. New data released on Wednesday shows that Britain’s unemployment level remains at 4.8%, a 10-year low. Just 1.6 million people are officially unemployed.

Families with children have the highest risk of incomes that fall short of the standard, according to the report. More than half of families with children and just one parent in work are below the MIS — 56%.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a social policy and development charity, says the rising risk of poverty is due to sluggish income growth rather than any increase in unemployment.

The charity says: “The price of a minimum “basket of goods” has risen 27-30% since 2008, and average earnings by only half that amount.”

Britain’s employment market has seen the rise of the so-called “gig economy” since the 2008 financial crisis, with more and more people doing low-paid, self-employed jobs such as driving Ubers or delivering food for Deliveroo. Trade union TUC estimated this week that the irregular hours and lower earnings of these types of workers means the government is missing out on £4 billion of tax revenue a year. This means these workers are missing out on pay too.

The Trussel Trust, a charity runs the UK’s only national network of food banks, said last April that food bank usage was at a record high of 1.1 million. Almost half a million emergency food supplies were given to children.

The Rowntree Foundation’s report is supported by Office for National Statistics data, which last year found that 33% of people were in poverty at least once between 2010-13 compared to an EU average of 25%.

read more: http://uk.businessinsider.com/theresa-mays-jams-joseph-rowntree-foundation-finds-4-million-people-just-above-poverty-line-2017-2


A third of UK lives on inadequate income, says think tank

Nearly a third of the population of Britain is living on an “inadequate” income, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

In 2014-15, it said that 19 million people were living on less than the Minimum Income Standard (MIS).

It said the problem was that household costs have been rising, while incomes have stagnated.

The government has already promised to tackle the issue, after Theresa May identified those “just about managing”.

It said it was taking “targeted action” to raise incomes.

The MIS is set by experts at Loughborough University, and is based on what members of the public think is a reasonable income to live on.

Although the precise level depends on individual circumstances, a single person renting a flat outside London is said to need to earn at least £17,300 a year to reach the MIS.

For a working couple with two children, living in social housing, each of the individuals needs to earn £18,900 a year.

In other words a couple could be earning £37,000 jointly, and still count as being below the MIS threshold.


Among the 19 million said to be below the MIS are six million children, representing 45% of all children in Britain.

There are also 1.8 million pensioners, representing 14.6% of the age group.

read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38970227

TopShop staff to walk out after Sir Philip Green denies them a living wage

Staff at two TopShop sites are set to stage a walk-out after shamed BHS boss and head of Arcadia group Sir Philip Green denied them a living wage.

Spectrum for Arcadia staff in Leeds and Solihull will walk out on strike for two days on Friday February 24 and Sunday February 26.

The industrial action will throw Arcadia’s deliveries from Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton Menswear into chaos.

The knight of the realm recently faced calls from MPs to seize his £100 million luxury yacht to plug a gaping pension’s black hole in his former company BHS.

It followed unanimous vote by MPs to strip Green of his knighthood.

GMB members balloted for strike action after their pay claim for a Real Living Wage – currently set at £8.45 by the Living Wage Foundation – fell on deaf ears.

David Warwick, GMB organiser, said: “Not content with offloading BHS with a £571 million pension black hole, Sir Philip Green now thinks it’s OK to leave his hard-working staff without a wage they can live on.

“Previous strikes at the Solihull site haven’t got the message home – now Leeds have joined in.”

read more here: http://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/topshop-staff-walk-sir-philip-green-denies-living-wage/15/02/

Tory MP suggests poor families ‘could learn from war generation about cooking good food on a tight budget

Philip Hollobone asked ministers if lessons could be learned from wartime families on “how best to feed our people” – but Labour say he’s unaware of “scale of hunger”

Poor people could learn about nutrition by eating from wartime rations, a Tory MP suggested today.

Philip Hollobone told the Commons low income households should take lessons from the 1940s on how to eat nutritious food on a tight budget.

read more here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-mp-suggests-poor-families-9651428#ICID

Third Of Disabled People Cut Back On Gas And Electricity Use Fearing Bills Finds Scope Survey

A third of disabled people have cut back on their energy consumption over the last year to afford their bills, a charity said. A survey of working-age disabled people found 32% reduced how much energy they use and 29% have struggled to pay their bills in the last 12 months, disability charity Scope said. In […]

via Third Of Disabled People Cut Back On Gas And Electricity Use Fearing Bills Finds Scope Survey — Same Difference

‘Worse than the war’: East Kilbride Loaves and Fishes boss has worst Christmas in over 20 years as desperate families queue round the block for food parcels : Daily Record. — DWPExamination.

CHARITY founder Denis Curran MBE looked on in despair as struggling families queued around the block for something to eat at Christmas. Loaves and Fishes chairman Denis Curran making an impassioned plea to the Scottish Parliament. A HEARTBROKEN food bank champion described this as the worst Christmas he has experienced in more than two […]

via ‘Worse than the war’: East Kilbride Loaves and Fishes boss has worst Christmas in over 20 years as desperate families queue round the block for food parcels : Daily Record. — DWPExamination.