Thursday, December 03, 2009

Poverty levels rise again in the UK

The annual report from the UK's Joseph Rowntree foundation has just been released. This year, the Foundation says that poverty in the UK continues to rise.

Poverty levels in the UK are now at the same level as back in 2000. The report says that after a few years trending down, poverty has increased every year since 2004. The Rowntree Foundation points to 2004 as the year that unemployment and property repossessions began to rise in the UK.

From the BBC, we read this further breakdown of the new report.

The report - which is the Foundation's annual assessment of poverty in the UK - said that 2004-05 was a key turning point as that was when poverty, unemployment and property repossessions all started to rise.

"The report highlights the scale of the challenge the government faces if it is to reduce poverty significantly in the UK," said Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Foundation.

"Although there was success in reversing long-term adverse trends in the first half of the last decade, the re-emergence of these problems indicates that poverty cannot be solved with short-term, reactive solutions."

The report, produced by the New Policy Institute, found that two million children lived in low-income, working households. This was the highest figure since the Foundation started collecting records.

Peter Kenway, co-author of the report, said that the tax credits system was tackling the symptoms, not the root cause, of the issue that many people were not getting enough income despite doing many hours of work each week.

He said that the solutions were "not obvious" but required a debate over subjects that some politicians considered taboo.

They included the fact that some people had been "taxed into poverty", as well as the effect of more women in the workforce and the impact of migration levels into the UK.

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