What has driven the rise of in-work poverty?

Most people in poverty now live in a family with someone in work – a dramatic change from 20 years ago. However, the rise of in-work poverty seems to be at odds with positive developments in the labour market: the highest ever employment rate, and the introduction of the National Living Wage.

This report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looks at two distinct periods where the share of workers in poverty rose: 2003/04 to 2008/2009, and 2012/2013 to now. From these periods, the report draws three key lessons:

  1. The rising share of workers who are being pulled into poverty is preventing record employment rates from lifting people out of poverty.
  2. Raising the minimum wage is not a substitute for a decent social security system and action to reduce housing costs.
  3. Alongside action to raise hourly pay, we need to enable people in low-income families to work as many hours as they would like to.

Download the full report here: https://www.jrf.org.uk/file/54061/download?token=7Onk5EZF&filetype=full-report

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