1.25 Million Brits Found Destitute in 2015
April 29, 2016
As many as 1.25 million people were found to have been destitute at some point in 2015, according to a new in-depth report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
The charity group conducted what is believed to be the first study into the scale of destitution in Britain last year and has now published its findings, which suggest there are tens of thousands of people in the UK struggling desperately to get by.
Careful consideration was given by the JRF about who should or shouldn’t be categorised as being destitute, with the criteria designed to identify those people who cannot afford the basic essentials they need to stay clean and fed, or warm and dry.
The research cited in JRF’s report was carried out by experts from the Heriot-Watt University, with 300,000 children found to among the 1.25 million people who could be categorised as being destitute and at the extreme end of the poverty scale in the UK.
For most people, their situation was such that they had previously lived in some form of poverty for an extended period of time before eventually finding themselves destitute.
Issues relating to personal debts were identified as a very common cause of destitution among people in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.
Common types of debt found to have led to serious problems for many people included rent arrears, council tax debts and debts to the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to overpaid state benefits.
Many other people told researchers that they had become unable to afford basic expenses after having seen their benefit payments delayed or withdrawn.
“There are a shocking number of people in the UK living in destitution,” said Julia Unwin, chief executive of the JRF.
“It is simply unacceptable to see such levels of severe poverty in our country in the 21st Century. Governments of all stripes have failed to protect people at the bottom of the income scale from the effects of severe poverty, leaving many unable to feed, clothe or house themselves and their families.”
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