Annual report on the nature and scale of poverty across the UK

Date: 28th January 2021
Category: Child poverty

Drawing shows a child running with their pet dog

This report highlights early indications of how poverty has changed since the start of COVID-19, who is feeling the greatest economic and health effects of COVID-19, and recommendations for change.

Before COVID-19, 14.5 million people in the UK were caught up in poverty, equating to more than one in five people. Children continue to be disproportionately affected.

The report highlights the following people and their families are bearing the greatest impact from COVID-19:

  • Part-time workers, low-paid workers and sectors where there are much higher rates of in-work poverty, such as accommodation and food services.
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic households
  • Lone parents – mostly women, many of whom work in hard-hit sectors – who are more reliant on local jobs and are more likely to have struggled with childcare during lockdown.
  • Private renters, who have higher housing costs, and social renters, who tend to have lower incomes, both leading to higher poverty rates.
  • Those living in areas of the UK where there were already higher levels of unemployment, poverty and deprivation.

To protect these people from being swept further into poverty, the report makes the following recommendations to the UK Government:

  • Have as many people as possible in good jobs - bold action is required to retrain workers and create good quality new jobs.
  • Improve earnings for low-income working families - support must be offered to people in the lowest-paid jobs, or people working part-time, to enable them to move into higher pay grade jobs, and access sufficient and secure working hours, including bringing forward the Employment Bill.
  • At a minimum, offer a £20 per week increase to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit permanently, extending this same lifeline to people on legacy benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Increase the amount of low-cost housing available for families on low incomes and increase support for households who have high housing costs.

Read the report in full here.