A major report on poverty levels in the United Kingdom has underlined that many of the areas most badly affected are in its capital city. The report, compiled by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and published today, finds that in recent years London has had “a higher poverty rate than any other UK area” at 28 per cent, followed by the north east and west midlands of England and by Wales, all on 24 per cent.
Londoners who work part-time are found to have “significantly higher rates of poverty” than those in other areas of the country, with the rate in that category lately rising to 34 per cent, which is 11 per cent higher than part-time workers in the next worst-affected region. London also has the joint highest poverty rate for full-time workers, according to the report, running at 13 per cent along with Wales.
Poverty rates for people in “pensioner families” are also the highest in London at 23 per cent. The report says that this has been the case since 2002/03 with the gap widening since then, except by comparison with Wales. A greater proportion of such families, 58 per cent, claim an income-related benefit than anywhere else in the UK, with the next highest figure, 50 per cent, in the West Midlands.
Households in poverty in London also have the least affordable housing available to them, along with those in the South East and East of England. London social renters are among those most likely to be in poverty, with 49 per cent calculated to fall into the category – the third highest rate in the UK after the West Midlands and Wales.
Responding to the JRF figures, Muhammed Butt, executive member for welfare, empowerment and inclusion with cross-party body London Councils, said: “In contrast to the simplistic myth-making about London, the streets here aren’t paved with gold. London has among the highest poverty rates in the UK, with the most severe pensioner and in-work poverty and two-thirds of the national homelessness total. The government is making positive noises about levelling up the country but needs to boost support for deprived communities everywhere – including the capital.”
The JFR report’s conclusions are in line with analysis produced last year by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which found that London has the highest rate of poverty in Britain, including the most severe levels.
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