World News

Four million in persistent poverty in Britain

Women in Britain suffer more poverty than men, with the gap between the two genders at its widest level since the records became available, Xinhua news agency reported.

Published: 27th June 2017 05:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th June 2017 05:59 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only


London: More than seven percent of the British population, amounting to 4.6 million people, live in persistent poverty, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a report on Tuesday.

Women in Britain suffer more poverty than men, with the gap between the two genders at its widest level since the records became available, Xinhua news agency reported.

The study said the level of persistent poverty was the fifth lowest among all members of the European Union. By comparison, Romania had the highest poverty level at 19.3 percent and Denmark the lowest at 4.3 percent.

Statistics experts from ONS compiled their figures based on measures used by the European Commission to help monitor poverty and social exclusion across the EU.

Households experiencing persistent poverty are those who are at risk of poverty with equivalised disposable income at or below 60 percent of the national median and have been at risk of poverty for at least two of the three preceding years. 

In 2015, the at-risk-of-poverty threshold in Britain was 12,567 pounds ($16,017).

ONS said the gap between Britain and EU average persistent poverty rates had been widening, from 0.2 percentage points in 2008 to 3.6 in 2015.

It showed a higher proportion of women in Britain (8.2 percent) were persistently poorer than men (6.3 percent), a trend that has continued since data became available in 2008. 

The gap for 2015, the latest year for which figures are available, was at the widest yet recorded.

The ONS study also looked at those at risk of poverty, showing that in 2015 this was 16.7 percent for Britain, ranking in the middle of the table of EU members and just above the EU average of 17.3 percent.

From 2012 to 2015, roughly 3 in 10 (30.2 percent) of the British population were at risk of poverty for at least one year.

Britain's level of persistent poverty is similar to Sweden (7 percent), Hungary (7 percent), Cyprus (7.3 percent), the Netherlands (7.3 percent) and Slovakia (7.3 percent), but the level is lower than in France and Italy.

Poverty is measured by the inability to afford nine essentials in modern everyday life, and affording rent or mortgage on homes, having at least a week-long holiday away from home, eating meat or vegetarian meal every other day, affording a telephone and colour television, owning a car and keeping the home warm.

Almost three in 10 of Britons were unable to afford four or more of the essentials on the "poverty list". The highest proportion was unable to afford a holiday or have enough money to meet an emergency.

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