Working Parents ‘Being Pushed into Poverty’

December 4, 2018

The past five years have seen a “relentless” rise in the number of British parents being pushed into poverty despite being in employment.

That’s according to a new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), which has highlighted the growing prevalence of in-work poverty among families across the country.

Roughly one in five (22 per cent) people in the UK are regarded as living in poverty, which equates to around 14.3 million individuals, including 4.1 million children and 1.9 million pensioners.

The JRF’s latest research suggests that there are now around 8.2 million British adults who live in poverty despite being part of a family or household in which one or more people are in work.

According to the charity, roughly one in every eight people in work is living in poverty with the rate of in-work poverty rising faster than employment.

Among the issues cited as driving forces behind the rise of in-work poverty are changes to tax credit legislation, struggles associated with rent payments and housing, and a reliance on low-paid work where opportunities for progression are limited.

Hazel Ratcliffe, a lone working parent from Fife, has been given by the JRF as an example of someone who has found themselves living in poverty despite working a substantial number of hours each week.

“Life can feel like a hamsters’ wheel: I am working and pushing myself so hard, but feel like I’m stuck,” she says.

“Most weeks I manage, but it involves rigid meal planning, then going around the supermarket with a calculator to ensure I stay within budget.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, describes some of the trends highlighted in his organisation’s report as being “unacceptable” and called for action to be taken at the highest levels to address the underlying issues involved.

“It’s time for us to decide what kind of country we want to be. As we leave the EU, we must tackle the burning injustice of poverty and make Britain a country that works for everyone,” he said.

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