New study finds over 4m people trapped in 'deep poverty'

There has been a flurry of new reports published recently, each perhaps aiming to catch the eye of our new prime minister in the desperate hope he'll notice. However, a new one published today is particularly noteworthy – and particularly shocking.

The Social Metrics Commission has published its 2019 report on the scale of poverty problem in the UK. The numbers are pretty hard to get your head around. It finds that seven million people (including 2.3m children) are classified as living in persistent poverty, while 4.5m people are more than 50% below the poverty line, which means they are classified as being in deep poverty.

Going into further detail, the report outlines that overall rates of poverty have changed little since the millennium, the current rate being 22%, which is slightly lower than the 24% seen in 2000/01. The commission states this hides significant changes in poverty among different groups. Poverty among pension-age adults has fallen from 19% to 11% in this period. Comparatively, rates among children has remained fairly constant.

The analysis finds nearly half of people in poverty live in a family where someone is disabled, and families are far less likely to be in poverty where all adults work full time jobs as opposed to part time. It also discovers poverty among BAME households is particularly high, and uncovers regional variances in the rate; higher in Wales and London and lower in the South East, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The report is a comprehensive and difficult read, and while all these facts will please the stats boffs, it does highlight the huge amount of work the housing sector, the government – indeed the whole UK – must do to overcome this issue. 

Be sure to download the full report here.