14mn Britons will be living in poverty by 2030 – report

Reuters/Eddie Keogh
Poverty in the UK will rise by an extra 3.6 million, including 1.2 million children, by 2030 unless drastic measures are taken by the government, a think tank has warned.

The report, published on Wednesday by the Labour Party-linked Fabian Society, claims unless the next government takes dramatic action, inequality in the UK will continue to rise, with wages of high income households rising 11 times faster than those on low incomes.

The society predicts disposable income for middle-class families will rise by 9 percent over the next 15 years, whereas the figure will be just 2 percent for lower income households.

The UK has faced almost 10 years of falling living standards,” the report reads. “Projections say poverty and inequality are on the rise. And there is still a huge hole in the public finances which limits, for now, the scope for public spending to bring solutions.”

The implications of 15 years of flat incomes for low income families are hard to contemplate. Stagnant incomes would mean there would be no chance of reducing the number of families who are really struggling to make ends meet,” the report says.

The use of food banks would continue to rise. Meanwhile, people unable to move out of rented accommodation and buy homes would see the greatest fall in living standards.

The think tank, however, believes in spite of the gloomy forecast there is hope for future economic recovery if the next government takes action to stem rising inequality.

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The report, which draws on figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS), suggests there are paths of “affordable” government intervention that would make a “massive” difference to the living standards of typical households.

If, by 2030, the UK were to match the highest levels of employment in the developed world today, then poverty and inequality would still rise, but by less than we otherwise project,” the report says.

They suggest making improvements in care systems for those unable to work, and giving parents, carers and disabled people more opportunities.

Further suggestions include a widespread implementation of the living wage, which would increase earnings for low-paid workers by 49 percent in real terms.

In February 2014, the governing Conservative Party launched a campaign to reduce the level of child poverty in the UK.

In a co-authored piece, Chancellor George Osborne and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said the new measures would “drive the right action to bring about a real change in children's lives now and in the future.”

“Measures that recognize the root causes of poverty: entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, problem debt, drug and alcohol dependency,” they added.

The Child Poverty Strategy was slammed by Liberal Democrat David Laws, who said the policy did not contain any poverty reduction targets, despite two years of coalition government discussions on the issue.