January 2006 PSE book press release
New study reveals true levels of poverty in Britain
A quarter of British adults are poor and one third of children are forced to go without at least one of the things they need, such as three meals a day, toys, out of school activities or adequate clothing, according to the most comprehensive survey of poverty and social exclusion ever undertaken. Launched at the House of Lords today, Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The Millennium survey shows that 3 million adults and 400,000 children are not properly fed by today’s standards.
The book reports on the largest and most rigorous investigation of poverty and social exclusion and shows that at the turn of the millennium, there were more people living in or on the margins of poverty than at any other time in British history.
These shocking findings illustrate the scale of the task faced by the Labour Government, which made a commitment in 1999 to abolish child poverty within a generation.
Head of the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice at
Bristol University and co-editor of the book said:
The survey results
The report also
provides unparalleled detail about the extent of social exclusion
experienced by the British population:
The survey highlights important policy implications, and establishes that the policies pursued by Conservative and Labour Governments since 1979 have resulted in a major redistribution of resources from the poor to the rich, increasing inequalities in both income and health outcomes.
co-editor and Professor of Sociology at Bristol University said:
According to David
Gordon, co-editor and Professor of Social Justice at Bristol University:
contributor to the book and Professor of International Social Policy
at the London School of Economics said;
Notes to editors:
1. The Poverty and Social Exclusion (PSE) Survey was designed by senior academics from the Universities of Bristol, Loughborough, and York, carried out in 1999 by the Office for National Statistics, and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The chapters have been written by 16 academics from eight universities who are the leading experts in their fields.
2. Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey edited by Christina Pantazis, David Gordon and Ruth Levitas is published by The Policy Press. It is available to buy from www.policypress.org.uk or from Marston Book Services, PO Box 269, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4YN (01235 465500) price £24.99 plus £2.75 p&p.
3. Christina Pantazis is Head of the Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice in the School for Policy Studies, David Gordon is Professor of Social Justice and Director of the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research and Ruth Levitas is Professor of Sociology and Head of Department, all at the University of Bristol, UK.
4. The book will be launched at a meeting in the House of Lords on Tuesday 24th January 2006 from 12.00 – 1.00 pm in Room 4B, Main Committee Room Floor, House of Lords, Westminster, London.
5. Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey is part of the Studies in poverty and social exclusion series, published by The Policy Press. For more information on other titles in the series, visit the website at www.policypress.org.uk
Tel: 0117 9546766 e-mail C.Pantazis@bristol.ac.uk
Jacqueline Lawless at The Policy Press on Tel: 0117 3314097 or email Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org
Major new poverty survey finds two million children without ‘necessities of life’
Two million children in Britain – more than one in six - are experiencing multiple deprivation and poverty. Not only are their family incomes low, but they also go without two or more items that today’s parents regard as ‘necessities’, such as adequate clothing, three meals a day, toys, and out of school activities.
This new evidence concerning deprivation among adults and children emerges from the results of a major national survey of poverty and social exclusion supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Carried out by the Office for National Statistics and analysed by researchers from four universities, the survey is the most comprehensive and rigorous of its type ever conducted.
Interviews with a nationally-representative sample of adults were used to draw up a checklist of household items and activities that a majority of people consider to be necessities that everyone should be ‘able to afford and which they should not have to do without’. A second survey was then conducted to discover how many individuals lacked these ‘necessities of life’ and gather other information on income and social exclusion. The study found that:
Looking at children’s lives in the light of a list of items that parents had identified as necessities, the study also found that:
Sue Middleton, part of a team at Loughborough University that analysed the survey data on children, said: “This evidence is vitally important at a time when government is seeking to abolish childhood poverty within a generation. Some British children are going without items which are widely accepted as being vital to the health and development of children”
The researchers found that 26 per cent of the population lacked two or more items and had low incomes. This definition of poverty applied to 71 per cent of unemployed people and 61 per cent of long-term sick and disabled people who lived in households where no one was in paid work. The rate for lone parents with one child was 62 per cent.
Dr David Gordon of the University of Bristol, co-author of the report, said: “Lack of paid work is an important factor in causing poverty. But even if full employment is achieved, social exclusion will not disappear. Low-earning families will still need adequate child benefits and pensioners, disabled people and others unable to work will still need minimally adequate support from the state to meet their needs. High quality, affordable services will also be needed if the Government’s goals for eliminating poverty and social exclusion are to achieved.”
Poverty over time
The survey methods allowed the researchers to compare their findings with results from two earlier ‘Breadline Britain’ surveys that used similar methods: taking account of low income and multiple deprivation of socially-defined ‘necessities’. This showed that between 1983 and 1990 the number of households living in poverty grew from 14 per cent to 21 per cent. The equivalent proportion in 1999 was higher still at more than 24 per cent. However, the number of households defined as living in chronic, long-term poverty fell from 4 per cent to 2.5 per cent.
Prof. Jonathan Bradshaw of the University of York, co-author of the report, said: “Britain now stands at a crossroads in terms of adopting effective measures to stop and reverse the damaging structural trends that have increased poverty and social exclusion in the past 20 years.
High rates of social deprivation have the effects of worsening health, education, and job skills, as well as relationships within families, between ethnic groups and across society as a whole. If Britain is to become an inclusive society in which everybody has a stake and is able to participate then the most important task facing government is the ending of poverty and social exclusion.”
Poverty and social exclusion in Britain by David Gordon, Laura Adelman, Karl Ashworth, Jonathan Bradshaw, Ruth Levitas, Sue Middleton, Christina Pantazis, Demi Patsios, Sarah Payne, Peter Townsend and Julie Williams is published for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation by York Publishing Services, 64 Hallfield Road, Layerthorpe, York YO31 7ZQ (01904 430033) price £15.95 plus £2 p&p. A summary of findings is available, free of charge, from JRF, The Homestead, 40 Water End, York YO30 6WP or from www.jrf.org.uk.
Issued by David Utting, JRF Head of Media Relations
Maintained by: Eldin Fahmy Last updated: 06/03/02