Britain facing in-work poverty crisis

Increasingly more working people in Britain are now in poverty to the extent that in-work poverty has already surpassed workless poverty, British social policy research and development charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation says.

The foundation said despite higher levels of employment and a more qualified workforce over the past decades in Britain, poverty levels have been rising, urging the government to tackle “in-work poverty [as] the key for anti-poverty initiatives.”

“The ‘low-pay, no-pay’ jobs market keeps millions in poverty and holds the economy back,” the foundation said in its annual Monitoring Poverty report.

The report said such a situation means the government should “give up the belief that welfare reform” is the solution to poverty and should rather focus on in-work poverty.

The foundation said in-work poverty has risen by 20 percent over the past decade to include 6.1 million households that outstrips workless poverty that affects 5.1 million households.

The result has been reliance of more working people on welfare benefits to make up for low wages.

Meanwhile, much of the employed population is getting low salaries, including 4.4 million people who are receiving less than £7 an hour, while There are 1.4 million part-time workers wanting full-time work – the highest figure in 20 years.

The report also hit out at officials for claiming that “poverty is about worklessness and welfare dependency,” saying “60% of children in low-income households have a working parent, the highest proportion in the history of these statistics.”

“It is in-work poverty that is becoming the modern face of hardship, and at the same time support for working people is being cut. The high level of in-work poverty undermines any idea that better incentives to enter work, the centerpiece of universal credit, is some kind of cure-all,” Tom MacInnes, the research director at the New Policy Institute and the author of the report, said.

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