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The young and workers mostly likely to be in poverty


Young people and those in work are now more at risk of poverty than the elderly and the unemployed, a report has shown.

The report was written by the New Policy Institute for The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a British social policy research and development charity, that funds a UK-wide research and development programmes. It showed that over the last decade there has been a large fall in pensioner poverty, whereas the number of people under 25 who are hard up has increased, as well as the amount of working poor.

This is due to the “vast increase” in zero-hour contracts and low paid self employment. The report showed that there are around 1.4 million contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours of work. As a result, two-thirds of people who found work last year are paid less than the Living Wage.

The government has now claimed that poverty is at its lowest level since in 1980s, yet incomes are now on lower on average than 10 years ago, and the average self-employed person earns 13% less than they did five years ago, claims the report.

During the last 10 years only a fifth of low paid workers managed to move into better paid jobs.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree foundation said:

“We are concerned that the economic recovery we face will still have so many people living in poverty. It is a risk, waste and cost we cannot afford: we will never reach our full economic potential with so many people struggling to make ends meet.

“A comprehensive strategy is needed to tackle poverty in the UK. It must tackle the root causes of poverty, such as low pay and the high cost of essentials.”

A government spokesperson said:

"The truth is, the percentage of people in the UK in relative poverty is at its lowest level since the mid-1980s," said a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

"And the number of households where no one works is the lowest since records began,"

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