Poverty levels fall – but not far enough

There are one million fewer people living in poverty than there
were in 1997, according to figures released by the Joseph Rowntree
Foundation today.

But although the number of people in low-income households has
dropped, the level is nearly double that of 20 years ago, figures
in the New Policy Institute’s fifth annual report of
indicators of poverty and social exclusion show.

The statistics also reveal that obesity and drugs misuse is
increasing, while accidental deaths among children, youth suicide,
and underage pregnancies are falling.

The number of households in temporary accommodation has almost
doubled over the last five years and two thirds of the heads of
households in social housing are not in paid work.

Welcoming the report, the charity Child Poverty Action Group has
called on the government to adopt more radical and assertive
policies to tackle child poverty.

“At least an extra £3bn a year will need to be spent
to achieve the manifesto commitment to lift a further one million
children out of poverty by 2005,” CPAG director Martin Barnes
said. “The new child tax credit can be a vehicle for ending
income poverty but only if take-up is high and its value is
significantly increased.”

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