Press release

Government response to Households Below Average Income figures

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The latest Households Below Average Income figures were published today.

The latest Households Below Average Income figures were published today. The statistics cover the UK income distribution in 2009/10, including the latest figures for the number and percentage of children, pensioners and working-age people in the UK living in relative and absolute poverty.

Today’s figures show:

  • In 2009/10, 16 per cent of working-age adults (5.7 million) living in relative poverty Before Housing Costs (BHC) and 22 per cent (7.9 million) After Housing Costs (AHC). Compared to 2008/09, this was flat in percentage point terms (a fall of 0.1m) on a BHC basis and was flat in percentage point terms (a rise of 0.1m) AHC
  • The number of people in working-age poverty is amongst the highest since records began.
  • In 2009/10, 16 per cent (1.8 million) AHC and 18 per cent of pensioners (2.1 million) were living in relative poverty BHC. Compared to 2008/09, this represents no change AHC and a fall of 2 percentage points (0.2m) on a BHC basis.
  • In 2009/10, 20 per cent of children (2.6 million) living in relative poverty BHC and 29 per cent (3.8 million) AHC. Compared to 2008/09, this represents a fall of 2 percentage points (0.2m) on a BHC basis and a fall of 1 percentage point (0.1m) AHC.
  • Overall inequality remains at historically high levels.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said:

These figures lay bare the growth of income inequality in the UK which is now the highest it has ever been. This gap between the poorest and richest in our society has accelerated over the last five years despite an astonishing £150 billion injected into tax credits alone. The end result has been to make benefit dependency and worklessness inherent to the UK way of life with middle and low income earners picking up the bill.

This underlines the urgent need for our radical programme for Welfare Reform and especially Universal Credit which will make work pay and end the madness of generations living on benefits with no reason to aspire for more. Any drop in poverty is to be welcomed, but it must be sustainable, and the only way we will achieve that is through work.

Our plans will lift almost a million people including 350,000 children, out of poverty and help people back into work, improving the life chances of their children and ending the depressing spiral of a lifetime on benefits that blights too many of our towns and cities.

Notes to Editors:

The latest Household Below Average Income figures 2009/10 can be found at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/may-2010/dwp067-10-200510.shtml