Analysis finds growing poverty gap after housing costs


Families below the poverty line have been pushed deeper into poverty since 2012, a new report has found.

The analysis found that the poverty gap after housing costs had grown between 2012/13 and 2017/18 for all family types
The analysis found that the poverty gap after housing costs had grown between 2012/13 and 2017/18 for all family types

Analysis by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) of data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has found the number of children living in poverty with parents in full-time work has doubled from 200,000 in 2012/13 to 400,000 in 2017/18.

The analysis found the average ‘poverty gap’ showing how far below the poverty line poor families live jumped by 30 per cent between 2012/13 and 2017/18, even after controlling for inflation.  

After housing costs are taken into account, poor families are now £73 per week (28 per cent) below the poverty line, up from £56 in 2012/13, the analysis found.

The poverty gap is consistently higher for couple-households compared to lone parents, according to the data, although since 2013 the poverty gap for lone parents has risen by 36 per cent, reducing the difference considerably.  

CPAG suggested this was ‘unsurprising’ in the light of benefits cuts since 2013 which it said had caused particularly heavy losses for lone parents.

The analysis also found that the poverty gap after housing costs had grown between 2012/13 and 2017/18 for all family types, including couples where both partners work, where one partner or neither partner works, and for lone parents whether they work or not. 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently reported that there are 4 million children in poverty. This is up from 3.6 million in 2011/12, CPAG said.

Relative poverty is measured as living on less than 60 per cent of today’s median income, before or after housing costs.

CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham said, ‘We know that the number of children in poverty is rising – and at risk of reaching a record high – but poor families are also deeper in poverty than they were just seven years ago. 

‘That should sound alarm bells for a Government committed to “levelling up” because it means families in poverty are further away from escaping it.

‘Many of these families are living well below the poverty line. Their children are going without the basics of a good childhood with all the lost opportunities that brings for them and for our wider economy.   

‘Our new Government has committed to reducing child poverty. It must now bring forward clear policies for achieving this.’

 

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