This story by Jason Beattie originally appeared in the Daily Mirror here.
Almost 18 million cannot afford adequate housing and 2.5 million kids live in damp homes while ‘working poor’ are on the rise.
The number of Britons living in poverty has soared to one in three, a shock report reveals.
Almost 18 million cannot afford adequate housing and 2.5 million kids live in damp homes.
It also shows that poverty has more than doubled in 30 years, as David Cameron allows the gap between rich and poor to become a chasm.
Furious Labour MP Frank Field branded the rise “horrendous”.
Smug ministers keep saying they are helping people out of hardship – but their claims have been shot to pieces today by shocking evidence.
In a damning verdict on the Coalition, a report has revealed that 33% of people in Britain are living below the breadline.
It means poverty has more than doubled since 1983, when the figure stood at 14%.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said: “David Cameron’s government has completely failed to tackle poverty and deprivation.
“Child poverty is set to rise, not fall under his government. And there are more people in poverty in work than out of work.”
And Mr Field added: “Tackling the causes of poverty is clearly the right strategy – this report shows that the Government’s strategy isn’t working.
“Here then is the most major challenge to all our political parties; what is your manifesto going to say to reverse the horrendous rise in the numbers of people in poverty detailed in this report?”
The major study, led by Bristol University, revealed a string of shameful findings.
- Almost 18 million cannot afford adequate housing conditions.
- 1.5 million children live in households that cannot afford to heat the home
- 2.5 million kids live in properties that are damp
- More than half a million children live in families who cannot afford to feed them properly
- 12 million people are too poor to have a social life
- 5.5 million adults go without essential clothing
- One in every six adults in paid work is still poor.
Read: We are example of how inequality ruins a nation’s prospects, says director of The Equality Trust Duncan Exley.
The study blows apart the idea peddled by the Government that getting a job tackles poverty.
It found the majority of children living below the breadline have at least one parent in work.
The report said: “These results dispel the myth, often conveyed by government ministers, that poverty in general and child poverty in particular is a consequence of a lack of paid work – a result of shirking rather than striving.
“It found the majority of children who suffer from multiple deprivations – such as going without basic necessities, having an inadequate diet and clothing – live in small families with one or two siblings, live with both parents, have at least one parent who is employed, are white and live in England.”
The Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom report, which studied 14,559 people, is the largest of its kind conducted in Britain.
While Mr Cameron has allowed fatcats to flourish, the research showed that one in three people cannot afford to heat their homes properly in winter.
And four million people are not properly fed by today’s standards.
Professor David Gordon, from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at Bristol University, said: “The Coalition government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty. Their strategy has clearly failed.
“The available high quality scientific evidence shows poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening.”
The shocking statistics shatter the PM’s boast that his welfare reforms are a “moral mission” giving hope to the poor.
But a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “There is strong evidence that incomes have improved over the last 30 years, despite the misleading picture painted by this report.
“The independent statistics are clear – there are 1.4 million fewer people in poverty since 1998.
“And under this government we have successfully protected the poorest from falling behind, with a reduction of 300,000 children living in relative income poverty and 100,000 fewer children in workless poor families. As part of our economic plan, the Government is committed to tackling the root causes of child poverty.”
This comes a week after Mr Cameron’s anti-poverty tsar Alan Milburn warned that t he Government’s child poverty plans were doomed to fail.
Ex-Labour minister Mr Milburn said the Coalition’s policies were a “farce” and warned that 3.5 million children will be in poverty by 2020.
Despite the size of the economy doubling in the past 30 years, the number of families who cannot afford to heat their homes has also doubled in that time.
There are now 13 million people living in cold or damp homes – three million more than in the 1990s.
Recent figures also show the number of emergency food parcels handed out has soared to more than a million because of the Government’s austerity measures.