Poverty in the United Kingdom

A significant portion of the population of the United Kingdom are considered to be in poverty under some measures of poverty.

Data based on incomes published in 2016 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that, after housing costs have been taken into consideration, the number of people living in the UK in relative poverty to be 13.44m (21% of the population).[1] In 2015, a report by Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that 21.6% of Britons were in relative poverty. The report showed that there had been a fall in poverty in the first few years of the 21st century, but the rate of poverty remained broadly flat in the decade after 2004/5.[2]

Full Fact found that the British poverty rate is "almost exactly the same level as the EU average (17%)", much lower than the DWP figures due to differences in calculation methods between countries.[3]

The Poverty and Social Exclusion project at Bristol University, in 2014,[4] said that the proportion of households lacking three items or activities deemed necessary for life in the UK at that time (as defined by a survey of the wider population) has increased from 14% in 1983 to 33% in 2012.[5]

In 2018, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said that British Government policies and cuts to social support "are entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery", "driven by a political desire to undertake social re-engineering rather than economic necessity".[6][7] His report was rejected by the British Government, pointing to rising household incomes, declining income inequality and one million people fewer in absolute poverty since 2010.[8]