A report published by think tank the New Policy Institute on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation this morning claims that millions of working people live in poverty, trapped by ‘low pay no pay ‘ jobs.
Poverty is no longer the preserve of the unemployed.
In its annual report “Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion” the NPI also reveals that increasing numbers of well qualified university educated people have fallen into poverty with many graduates unemployed.
The popularity of university education has merely resulted in a “better educated workless population” they claim.
The report also maintains that unemployment numbers have been masked by the benefit system and the drift to part-time employment.
Although throughout the recession the number of people claiming dole (JSA) has been static at around 1.6 million 4.8 million people have claimed JSA at least one in the last two years
There are in fact now 1.4 million part‑time workers who say they want full time work – the highest figure in 20 years.
Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF, said:
“The most distinctive characteristic of poverty today is the very high number of working people who are also poor. Many more people have experienced poverty since the downturn, cycling in and out of insecure, short-term and poorly paid jobs. Tackling poverty requires a comprehensive strategy, but overcoming the frail jobs market must be the starting point.”
The report also casts doubt on the effectiveness of the government’s proposed ’Universal credit’ to combat poverty:
Peter Kenway, Director of NPI, said:
“The high level of in-work poverty undermines any idea that better incentives to enter work, the centrepiece of Universal Credit, is some kind of cure-all.”