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

  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered a spending review statement on 25 November 2020. The Government said the review’s priorities were “to support the Government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery and deliver on promises to the British people”. Alongside the spending review, the Office for Budget Responsibility set out its latest forecasts for the economy and for the public finances.

  • The House of Lords is scheduled to debate four statutory instruments relating to the financial services and markets sector on 10 November 2020. Three of them relate to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has not raised concerns about any of the regulations. The House of Commons is yet to consider them.