Government warned over huge spike in child and pensioner poverty
The Government is facing questions after shocking new figures reveal that hundreds of thousands of children and older people have been plunged into poverty over the last four years.
The research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that since 2012-13 an extra 300,000 children and 400,000 pensioners are now living in poverty.
The thinktank notes that this is the first sustained increase in child and pensioner poverty for 20 years.
Based on the findings the JRF is urging the government to unfreeze benefits, increase training for adult workers and build more affordable homes.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady blamed low wages for the figures and called for the minimum wage to rise to £10 an hour and for the government to remove the public sector pay cap.
She said: “Working people are not getting a fair deal from the economy, with real wages still worth less than a decade ago.”
JRF chief executive Campbell Robb said: “These worrying figures suggest that we are at a turning point in our fight against poverty. Political choices, wage stagnation and economic uncertainty mean that hundreds of thousands more people are now struggling to make ends meet.”
Oxfam’s Rachael Orr said: “It’s not just working adults who are affected, but their children too, and it’s a real worry to see progress on child poverty going into reverse.”
Chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham added: “As today’s report shows, we know how to reduce child poverty in the UK – we’ve done it before. Yet at the start of a sustained rise in the rate of child poverty – bewilderingly – there is inaction. The question the report begs is why are we not investing in our children?
“Families with children have had a decade of cuts to their incomes and the damage is showing. Unless there is action now to protect the living standards of low-income families, we will pile up problems for future generations and for the UK economy.”