Skip to main content

UK's Dirty Secret: Working Poverty

  • Author:
  • Updated:

This article came out a few days back in the Independent and reveals the dirty secret that in the UK's low wage economy, that it is virtually impossible to work your way out of poverty:

A record number of children in the UK are living in poverty despite the fact that one or both of their parents work, according to a new report to be published tomorrow. The figure of 2.1 million is the highest on record – up 400,000 in the past five years, undermining the oft-repeated claim that people simply have to work their way out of poverty.

The new figure accounts for more than half of the 3.7 million children living in poverty in Britain today, according to researchers from the New Policy Institute (NPI) who produced the report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

It is perhaps the most damning element of an analysis of the past decade, showing how initial progress in some areas has halted or been reversed.

You can read the actual report here. This goes to the heart of the Left/Right debate about poverty and how to solve it. The new Tory/Lib Dem government's policies to increase social mobility and lift people out of poverty is to slash welfare to encourage them to 'get a job'. This would be fine if there were jobs worth having, but looking after a family on £192/week makes it completely impossible.