‘Poverty in UK has worsened in last five years’, say 66% of people in major poll

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Two-thirds of people believe poverty has worsened under the Tories, a damning poll reveals today.

A survey for the Trussell Trust foodbank network shows 87% of those quizzed consider hunger to be a problem in the UK.


Some 75% say the gulf between rich and poor has widened – and 70% say the ability to afford the cost of essentials has worsened.

The YouGov study of 12,000 people also outlines how 66% believe poverty has got worse in the last five years.

Last year, Trussell Trust foodbanks provided 1.6 million emergency aid parcels.


Data shows the main reasons for people needing packages were benefits failing to cover the cost of living, and delays or changes to welfare.

The charity commissioned a survey examining what people thought of poverty-fuelled hunger – and who they think is to blame.

Some 51% believe think foodbanks are an embarrassment to this country and 70% agree they should not exist in modern society – with  55% saying the Government is most responsible for addressing hunger.

And 61% agreed most people living in poverty are mired in the state because of Government policies or actions.

Charity chief executive Emma Revie said: “This is a clear call to action from people across the UK.

Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie

“Individuals, driven by compassion and justice, are doing what they can to help people facing hunger, but they want to see things change.

“It’s now time for our government to do its part, and ensure these strongly-held values are lived out in policies that anchor people from poverty.

“It’s in our power as a country to end the need for foodbanks.

“To reach that future, we need to make sure everyone has enough money for the essentials.

The charity’s foodbanks gave away a record number of parcels in the year to April

“Ensuring our benefits system can anchor people from the rising tide of poverty would make the biggest difference.”

Earlier this year a UN special rapporteur said poverty in the UK is “systematic”.

In a report which was attacked by ministers, Professor Philip Alston said “ideological” cuts to public services since 2010 led to “tragic consequences”.

UN special rapporteur Philip Alston

The social security safety net had been “deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos”, he added.

His report cited independent experts saying 14 million people in the UK – a fifth of the population – live in poverty.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said: “It is a national disgrace that people are going hungry in the UK in the 21st Century.

“This important research shows just how out of touch the Government is with public feeling on this issue.

“People across the UK want our country to be a place of compassion.

“Instead, the Government persists with policies that are driving people into poverty and hunger.”

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Tackling poverty is a priority for this Government – 400,000 people have been lifted out of absolute poverty since 2010, there are more people in work than ever before and wages continue to outpace inflation.

“But we know some families need more support, which is why we’re spending £95billion a year on the welfare safety net to prevent families from falling through the cracks.”



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