NEW figures from the think tank the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation suggest that 6.1 million people who live in poverty
are in working households. Excluding pensioners, that is one
million more than live in poverty in workless households (
News, 2 November).
The Foundation's annual report Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion,
written by the New Policy Institute (NPI), found that 4.4 million
jobs paid less than £7 per hour. The national minimum wage is
£6.19, but living-wage pressure groups say that the minimum should
The number of working families receiving Working Tax Credit -
payments to top up wages - has risen by half since 2003 to 3.3
million in 2012.
The report also highlights the fluidity of poverty, where people
move in and out of jobs, and the under-employment of the workforce.
It calculates under-employment at 6.5 million: 1.4 million people
work part-time, but want full-time work. That is a half-million
increase since 2009.
"The most distinctive characteristic of poverty today is the
very high number of working people who are also poor," the
Foundation's chief executive, Julia Unwin, said. "Many more people
have experienced poverty since the downturn, cycling in and out of
insecure, short-term, and poorly paid jobs. Tackling poverty
requires a comprehensive strategy."
The director of NPI, Peter Kenway, said: "The high level of in-
work poverty undermines any idea that better incentives to enter
work - the centrepiece of Universal Credit - is some kind of
CARE researches tax levels. A report by the
charity Christian Action Research and Education UK (CARE) says that
British families pay some of the highest taxes in the Western
world, and face a threshold that is lower in real terms than it was
Further research to be published by CARE next week argues that
the UK effective marginal tax rate - the combined effect on
earnings of income tax and National Insurance increases, and the
withdrawal of state welfare benefits for one-earner couple families
and single-parent families - remains out of line with most of the
"Our tax system remains very individualistic and insensitive to
family responsibility, compared with those of comparable OECD
countries," the chief executive of CARE, Nola Leach, said.
"Recognising marriage in the tax system . . . would help bring the
UK back into line with its international counterparts."