Documents to download

Identifying and dealing with the causes of poverty is a highly complex issue which is open to interpretation, which in turn influences suggested approaches to tackling the causes of poverty. This briefing therefore necessarily considers the lack of a universally agreed definition of poverty and the resulting different measures conventionally used to gauge poverty rates; summarises government policy in recent years in relation to the causes of poverty; and presents statistics on poverty rates in the United Kingdom. It does not provide an overview of possible policy solutions, but points to relevant further reading on this subject.

In May 2016, the Office for National Statistics published a release on the subject of persistent poverty in the UK and EU. The release set out the following main points: 

  • In 2014, 6.5 percent of the UK population were in persistent poverty, equivalent to approximately 3.9 million people. Persistent poverty is defined as experiencing relative low income in the current year, as well as at least 2 out of the 3 preceding years. 
  • Based on the latest data, the UK has the third-lowest persistent poverty rate in the EU, but the overall poverty rate for 2014, at 16.8 percent, was the twelfth highest. 
  • The persistent poverty rate for women was 1.5 percentage points higher than for men in 2014 in the UK.
  • Single-person households were more likely to experience persistent poverty than households with 2 adults. 
  • Between 2011 and 2014, almost a third (32.5 percent) of the UK population experienced poverty at least once. 
  • 43 percent of people who left education without any formal qualifications experienced poverty at least once between 2011 and 2014, twice the percentage of those with a degree or higher.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Trade and institutional frameworks after Brexit

    What institutions and arrangements will govern the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU? And what will be the implications of Brexit for UK-EU trade in services and trade in goods? This article summarises the findings of three reports from a House of Lords committee that addressed these questions, as well as the Government’s responses. The House of Lords is due to debate the reports on 6 December 2021.

    Trade and institutional frameworks after Brexit
  • Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

    In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.

    Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report