Evidence type: Review i
A comprehensive and replicable review of all relevant studies on a topic with a summary of findings
An indicative review of a sample of relevant studies on a topic with a summary of findings
The report was published in January 2021, at which time the world was still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It looks at poverty, which can be defined in many ways, but for the purposes of the report is defined as relative poverty after housing costs, i.e. where someone’s household income is below 60% of the middle household’s income, adjusted for family size and composition. The report aims to look at the impact of the pandemic on poverty in the UK, in order to understand how those already living in poverty, and those who have fallen into poverty, have fared since the start of the pandemic.
This is the 2020/21 edition of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) annual report on the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and how it affects people. It conducts analysis based on a variety of data sources and reports published since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the latest poverty data collected before the coronavirus outbreak, together with insights from members of JRF’s Grassroots Poverty Action Group, who have direct experience of living on a low income. It examines overall changes to poverty, with sections looking at the impact of work, the social security system and housing. The JRF is an independent social change organisation working to solve UK poverty.
Key findings include the following:
Before coronavirus, 14.5 million people in the UK were caught up in poverty. Child poverty and in-work poverty had been on the rise for several years and some groups were disproportionately likely to be pulled into poverty. Many of those groups have also borne the brunt of the economic and health impacts of COVID-19. These include:
The authors state that they cannot be sure what happened to overall poverty levels in the first phase of the coronavirus outbreak, when the furlough scheme and temporary benefit uplift were both in place, but that it is clear that poverty will increase if this government support is removed from April 2021, as the UK faces much higher unemployment than pre-coronavirus, as well as the continuing uncertain impact of the end of the Brexit transition period.