Sector news // UK poverty rates increase for first time in 20 years


Poverty can be the root cause of main issues the voluntary sector works to resolve. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned their Analysis Unit to examine poverty rates in the UK, and look at how figures have changed over the past two decades.

The resulting report UK Poverty found that:

  • 14 million people live in poverty in the UK – over one in five of the population. This is made up of eight million working-age adults, four million children and 1.9 million pensioners. 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work.
  • Whilst the last 20 years have seen a dramatic reduction in poverty among pensioners and certain types of families with children, poverty rates for both these groups have started to rise again.

The analysis highlights three factors which account for this change in trend:

  • state support for many of those on low incomes is falling in real terms
  • rents are increasing
  • and rising employment is no longer reducing poverty

Rising poverty may translate to further increased demand for services provided by voluntary sector organisations.

You can download the full report or a summary of the findings from the JRF website.