New analysis from Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows that millions of families are in deep or persistent poverty and are the most harshly impacted by the energy price cap rise. The ‘UK Poverty 2022: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK’ report, published today, calls for urgent action to ease pain of cost-of-living crisis.
The analysis finds that households on low incomes will be spending on average 18% of their income after housing costs on energy bills after April 2022. For single adult households on low incomes this rises to a shocking 54%, an increase of 21 percentage points since 2019/20. Lone parents and couples without children will spend around a quarter of their incomes on energy bills, an increase of almost 10 percentage points in the same period.
JRF is warning that without additional support, people already in poverty are likely to find a sharp increase in energy bills very difficult to cope with.
Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy & Partnerships at JRF said:
“The reality for many families is that too many children know the constant struggle of poverty. The fact that more children are in poverty and sinking deeper into poverty should shame us all.
“The case for targeted support to help people on the lowest incomes could not be clearer. But this must go hand in hand with urgent action to strengthen our social security system, which was woefully inadequate even before living costs began to rise.
“Our basic rate of benefits is at its lowest real rate for 30 years and this is causing avoidable hardship. The Government must do the right thing and strengthen this vital public service.
“Rising energy prices will affect everyone, but our analysis shows they have the potential to devastate the budgets of families on the lowest incomes. The Government cannot stand by and allow the rising cost of living to knock people off their feet.”