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Private sector tenants in poverty double in decade

Written by: Seamus Hasson
The number of private rented sector tenants in poverty has doubled in the last decade from 2.1m in 2002/03 to 4.1m in 2012/13, research has revealed.

A study commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that a lack of affordable housing meant those renting privately were at the same risk of being evicted or left homeless as those in social housing.

Private landlord repossessions rose to 17,000 compared to 15,000 mortgage repossessions in 2013/14.

The report looked at the changes over the last 10 years in age groups most affected by poverty.

A big rise in the proportion of adults under 25 in poverty was found while poverty among the over 75s dropped.

Pensioner poverty is at its lowest level in history as targeted policies over the past decade have taken effect.

Despite unemployment falling by 300,000 between the middle of 2013 and the middle of 2014 working families are now as likely to be in poverty as unemployed ones.

Between 2008 and 2013, average wages for men have dropped from £13.90 to £12.90 an hour in real terms while women have dropped from £10.80 to £10.30.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of JRF, said: “A comprehensive strategy is needed to tackle poverty in the UK. It must tackle the root causes of poverty, such as low pay and the high cost of essentials.

“This research in particular demonstrates that affordable housing has to be part of the answer to tackling poverty: all main political parties need to focus now on providing more decent, affordable homes for people on low incomes.”

Nearly 1.4m people are now working zero-hour contracts that do not guarantee minimum hours.

Two thirds of people who moved from unemployment into paid work in the past year are paid below the living wage.

The self-employed have also been adversely affected, earning on average 13% less than they did five years ago.

Tom MacInnes, of the New Policy Institute, which wrote the report, said: “This report highlights some good news on employment, but earnings and incomes are still lower than five years ago, and most people who moved from unemployment into work can only find a low paid job.”



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