A third of children in Yorkshire are living in poverty, according to a major report which highlights the staggering scale of the problem in Britain.
Hundreds of thousands of parents across the region are struggling to make ends meet, with many living more than 50 per cent below the poverty line, said the analysis published today by the Social Metrics Commission, which focuses on measuring poverty.
While the report paints a bleak picture, the research showed overall rates of poverty have changed relatively little since the millennium.
The current rate of poverty UK-wide is 22 per cent, which is unchanged since last year and only slightly lower than the 24 per cent seen in 2000/01.
However, this trend hides significant changes in rates of poverty among different groups.
Across the UK, poverty rates among pension-age adults fell steadily from 19 per cent in 2000/01 to 9 per cent in 2014/15 but have since risen slightly to 11 per cent.
Similarly, poverty rates among children dropped from 36 per cent in 2000/01 to 31 per cent in 2014/15, but have now risen slightly to 34 per cent.
In Yorkshire, poverty rates mirrored the national picture.
The report also found nearly half of people in poverty in the UK – totalling 6.8 million people – live in a family where someone is disabled.
While 70 per cent of families where nobody worked were in poverty, the report also revealed one in 10 families where all adults work full time also lived below the poverty line.
Helen Barnard, deputy director of policy and partnerships at social change organisation the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and a commissioner of the Social Metrics Commission, said: “It is unacceptable that our new poverty measure shows that four and a half million people have been pulled into deep levels of poverty, while seven million are trapped in a persistent struggle to make ends meet.
“In Yorkshire, the poverty rate is 22 per cent and for children it is 34 per cent. That rate is still higher in many places around the region which are locked out of opportunities.
“We need our new Prime Minister to get to work immediately on a bold plan to boost living standards and support our towns and cities in building a more hopeful economic future, so that people can build better lives for themselves and their families.”
Philippa Stroud, chair of the Social Metrics Commission and CEO of think tank the Legatum Institute, said she established the Social Metrics Commission in 2016 because she believed the UK needed a better understanding of poverty and a tool to use to make decisions about how to tackle it. “For too many years there has been a divisive debate about how to measure poverty, which has distracted focus from the action needed to drive better outcomes for the most disadvantaged people in society,” she said.
“[It is] clear that beneath the surface there are significant differences in the experience of poverty among different groups of people.
“Politicians’ decisions can have an enormous impact on who is in poverty and how deep and persistent that poverty is, she said, making it important they put aside their political differences to tackle such an urgent issue.
“I call on people and organisations from across the political spectrum to support this new approach so that we can all put our energy into creating the policies and solutions that build pathways out of poverty.”