New Policy Institute research examines the Coalition’s record on poverty28 April 2015
New research, published by New Policy Institute (NPI) has concluded that poverty in the UK is rising among all age groups, and that it is also deepening.
The paper entitled “What happened to poverty under the Coalition?” presents NPI’s estimates of the latest headline poverty statistics for the United Kingdom, for the financial year ending in March 2015. It found that since April 2013, the total number of people in poverty in the UK has increased by 800,000, from 13.2 to 14.0 million, representing a one percentage point increase in the poverty rate, to 22 per cent. Deep poverty also increased by one percentage point to 15 per cent, with 700,000 more people in deep poverty rising from 8.9 to 9.6 million people.
These figures were calculated using the latest published poverty statistics, for 2012/13, which they then altered using the “combined effects of the changes that have taken place since”, the size and mix of the population, the levels of employment and earnings and the value of benefits and tax allowances. Although wider in scope (and calculated on a slightly different basis), they are also close to estimates published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS).
The report explains that in the two years since April 2015, incomes in the middle are rising once more, whilst at the bottom they have fallen; pensioner poverty is up by 14 per cent after half a dozen years of steady and substantial falls; and that poverty among tenants in the social rented sector rose by 400,000, which can be linked to tax and benefit changes, whilst poverty in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) rose by 350,000 – reflecting the growth of this group.
This research, as highlighted by Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, shows that claims by the Conservative party that they have reduced child poverty, are not true. Especially as the most recent figures, from 2013, were recorded prior to cuts to benefits and tax credits were made and the ‘benefit cap’ and ‘bedroom tax’ were introduced. Garnham goes onto explain that from 2012/13 to 2014/15 – “the years in which austerity has really started to bite” – child poverty has risen by 400,000.