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Wisbech reader says 'in-work poverty is the blight of so many lives'

According to Social Resolution group, when you look between poverty, work and housing, first look at in-work poverty, not just as a statistic, but explore between housing tenure and in-work poverty.

They focus on the fortunes of social renters. Drawing on a collaboration with Clarion Housing Group, they find that across the board, moving into work has a strong downward effect on poverty rates, and claim that work does not pay.

But in-work poverty is a condition that can be hard to escape, with many moving in and out of in-work poverty over time.

Your letters (31501283)
Your letters (31501283)

This matters a great deal for social renters who – with fewer second earners, lower pay and marginally shorter hours than those living in other tenures – have a higher in-work poverty risk.

This shows how low earning families of all tenures have been affected by benefit cuts in recent years.

In-work poverty is a “live” policy concern and, with public opinion strongly of the view that work and poverty should not go together, there is plenty of reason to act.

Constant in-work poverty rate is a tremendous amount of churn: half of those living in in-work poverty in 2014-15 are still in the condition three years later, but an equivalent number had moved from being in-work “but not in poverty” to in-work poverty.

Social renters’ in-work poverty rates remain elevated compared to non-SR (social renters), even when we look at households with the same number of earners.

We find that close to one-in-four of two-earner households in the social rented sector are in poverty, compared to one-in-ten in other tenures.

Lower rates of pay and marginally lower hours also contribute to social renters’ in-work poverty risk.

Cuts to in-work support over the last decade have increased low-earning households’ exposure to poverty.

It’s estimated that a single parent with two children in a National Living Wage job needs to work 23 hours per week today in order to live free of poverty, compared to the 16 hours that would have been required in the absence of the benefit cuts made post-2010.

We should look out for recommendations for policy makers to consider if they wish to ensure the lives of large numbers of working families are no longer blighted by poverty.

J. White,


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