In-work poverty grew by 1.5 million since 2010

The number of people in working households who are living below the poverty line is 1.5 million higher than in 2010, according to new data.

Government data published yesterday (23 March) also showed that the percentage of working age adults in relative low income after housing costs increased from 19% to 20% between 2021 and 2022.

More about working poverty:

Employers can reduce poverty by offering flexible work

MPs detail steps to fight in-work poverty

Sharp rise in working poverty signals need for more employer support

Relative low income is defined as a households earning than 60% of the average median income.

The news comes as inflation continues to climb and the cost of living crisis continues. 

In the 12 months to February 2023, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 10.4%.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said the government has worsened poverty by rewarding wealth instead of work.

General secretary Paul Nowak said: “It’s clear why this has happened. Pay and social security have been held down year after year, while the rich get tax breaks and bankers get unlimited bonuses. We need a different kind of government making different choices.”

Terry Payne, global managing director of recruitment agency, Aspire, said the situation urgently needs addressing.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said employers can help by increasing pay where possible: “Many businesses are going above and beyond to support employees during these tough times. 

“The likes of Pret, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and others have given staff pay rises recently. And while this won’t necessarily solve the problem, it’s likely to at least ease staff concerns to some degree.”

Not all employers can absorb wage increases in the cost of living crisis, he added, but there are other measures they can take.

He said: “From giving staff the flexibility and freedom to take on second jobs, to something as simple as providing free breakfast or being more open to employees working from home so they can save on travel costs; small gestures can make a big difference to those struggling the most.”