Number of people living in absolute poverty rises to almost 11 million

2nd July, 2014 10:49 am

New official figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that the number of people living in the UK in absolute poverty has risen over the past two years. There are now 10.6 million people in absolute poverty, up from 9.7 million in 2012.

Iain Duncan Smith

The number of children living in absolute poverty has risen from 3.6 million in 2012, to 4.1 million now – showing that we are still on course for this will be the first decade since records began not to see a fall in absolute child poverty. Alan Milburn, who now chairs the the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, recently said that “the gap between the objective of making child poverty history and the reality is becoming ever wider”.

However, the Government claim the figures are a success, showing that poverty has fallen, with the number of people living in relative poverty dropping by 100,000.

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  • JoeDM

    Err…. Looking at the DWP Key Findings in their document, the 10.9 million you say are ‘in poverty’ are in fact the number on what the DWP calls ‘Low Income’. Not the same thing at all !!!

  • EricBC

    The ONS Report does NOT use the term ”absolute poverty.”
    It uses ‘Absolute Low Income.’

    From the Report:-

    ”Absolute low income BHC, reached a historic low of 15 per cent in
    2009/10 but has since seen two consecutive years of increases. In
    2012/13 it remained flat at 17 per cent.”

    Absolute low income and absolute poverty are SERIOUSLY different.

    Here is a definition of Absolute Poverty from the PSE Poverty and Social Exclusion Web-site:-
    ”As such, in 1995 the United Nations ….
    Absolute poverty was defined as:

    a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.”

    YOUR HEADLINE IS WRONG! You have blundered here. Please consider withdrawing the above statement and informing any concerned that ‘ABSOLUTE LOW INCOME’ & ‘ABSOLUTE POVERTY’ have ENTIRELY different meanings.

    An easy mistake to make given that ONS does not preface its reports with comprehensible summaries of findings – a requirement which should be in Labour’s programme for government.

    • treborc1

      Thank god I thought I was struggling now you explain it I know I’m not.

      Hold on yes I am.

      • EricBC

        Absolute poverty has an agreed definition in which the means to live are not available. All poverty in the UK is relative poverty. The headline is an insult to those living in absolute poverty.

        • treborc1

          Meaningless hype people who use food banks are in absolute poverty, people who do not earn enough to live a decent life are in poverty. Poverty in a country which use to be in the top three of the richest countries.

          We should have no poverty in this country end of story.

          • gunnerbear

            Perhaps then we should be spending tens of billions – of borrowed – pounds on foreign aid.

  • Theoderic Braun

    This makes for dismal although expected reading. This being the case: Is the Labour party committed to spare no pains to ensure that poverty falls across the board if it wins the next election? Or will Labour just stand by, wringing its hands metaphorically, blame Tory misrule for every evil and ill and do next to nothing to put things right?

    • treborc1

      For god sake do not ask Miliband to explain anything, he’ll have to seek advice from his bosses first and we will end up with one of the Progress lot running out to see if they can find a book on poverty 1930 Germany.

  • MrSauce

    Obviously nonsense.
    No wonder the author wanted to be anonymous.

  • robertcp

    The truth is that there are now more people on low incomes. That is bad enough and there is no need to exaggerate.

    • treborc1

      Try benefits then, between Blair cutting and the Tories abusing it, if your out of work sick or disabled your being hammered and if you believe Labour if Reeves get’s the job she will be using a sledge hammer to hammer down.

      • robertcp

        Yes, people on benefits have very low incomes, which do little more than keep people alive.

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  • westerby1

    Don’t join the IDS dodgy statistics school! It is NOT the number of people in absolute poverty, it is the number of people with absolute low income, two COMPLETELY different things. Absolute poverty means no sanitation, shelter, education, healthcare,clothes, food – the basic means of existence. All poverty in the UK will be relative, not absolute.

    Please, stay away from the darkside, if you need a reason to – IDS is king there, that should deter most people!

    • treborc1

      That god we have no absolute poverty then just poverty, I bet people will be happy.

      • westerby1

        I was not implying for one second that having people in poverty, of either kind, was OK, and these latest statistics show things are getting worse under the Tories. I just do not want Labour to “massage” or “spin” stats, as the Tories have done, Labour has no need to do that, the stats speak for themselves.

        These stats were about relative income and absolute income, not relative and absolute poverty.

        At the end of the day there IS a world of difference between absolute poverty and absolute low income ( which is defined as less than 60% of the median income of a particular country.) People in absolute poverty have MUCH, MUCH less than 59% of the median income – that was all I was pointing out.

        • gunnerbear

          “For the year ending 5 April 2013 median gross annual earnings for full-time employees (who had been in the same job for at least 12 months) were £27,000, an increase of 2.1% from the previous year.” (ONS)

          So, 60% of £27K is £16200 gross per year! That is only just short of what a Private Solider starts on!

          Thus once the personal allowance is factored in the take home pay is nearly £14K so that’s nearly £1164 per month after tax (and that doesn’t include top-up benefits).

          Are you really saying that someone on nearly £270 per week is in poverty in the United Kingdom?

          • westerby1

            The statistics are not about poverty! That is what I was saying in my reply to treborc1. These statistics are about relative and absolute low pay, there is a difference, you can have relative low pay and not be in poverty.

            In my final paragraph I said there was a world of difference between absolute poverty and absolute low wage! That is why I objected to the Labour headline in the first place!

            By the way, a single person, without dependants, would not receive top up benefits, if they were on £14k a year. I do not think that a single person on £14k is in poverty.

            The stats just show that there are more people on absolute low income than there were 4 years ago, it is the Labour headline that conflates this with poverty, not me!. There has been a drop in the number of people on relative low income in the same time period, do we assume they are earning more, or do they account for the increase of those on absolute low income?

            To conclude: the stats are not about relative or absolute poverty, I never implied it was about poverty, the stats are about low incomes, and it was Labour who was calling them poverty stats, not me!

          • gunnerbear


            Thanks for the answer. The issue was clearly at my end as I had misunderstood what you meant. Thanks for clarifying what you meant.

          • westerby1

            No problem gunnerbear, thanks for replying. I think many people were confused by this headline, I had to read it three times before I knew what they were talking about! (and getting wrong) Have a good weekend.


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