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New analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) reveals a distressing surge in poverty levels in the UK during the 2021-22 period, intensifying the cost-of-living crisis.

Disturbing Statistics: A Million More in Poverty

According to the JRF report, a staggering one million more individuals were living in poverty in the UK in the 2021-22 period compared to the preceding 12 months. The total number of people in poverty reached 14.4 million, including 4.2 million children. This represents a notable increase from the previous year, which saw 13.4 million people, including 3.9 million children, grappling with poverty.

Deepening Crisis: Root Causes Unveiled

The cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated the situation, with an escalating number of individuals unable to afford basic necessities such as food and energy bills. Paul Kissack, Group Chief Executive of the JRF, expressed concern about the prolonged trend, stating that the UK has not witnessed a sustained period of decreasing poverty in almost two decades.

Very Deep Poverty: A Grim Reality

The JRF report underscores the severity of the situation, revealing that six million people in the UK experienced incomes significantly below the standard poverty line, categorizing them as in ‘very deep’ poverty in 2021-22. The widening poverty gap, representing the income needed to bring the poorest individuals back to the poverty line, highlights the financial challenges faced by this segment. On average, those classified in ‘very deep’ poverty would need to more than double their income to escape poverty. For instance, a couple with two children under the age of 14 falls into this category if their annual household income is below ₤ 14,600 ($ 18,519).

Vulnerable Groups: Disproportionate Impact

The report sheds light on the disproportionate impact on larger families, disabled individuals, part-time workers, the self-employed, and those living in rented accommodation. These groups face particularly high levels of poverty, compounding the challenges posed by the broader economic conditions.

Future Concerns: A Bleak Outlook

The JRF report raises alarms about the future, citing concerns over persistently high inflation, delayed adjustments in benefits to match rising prices, declining employment rates, stagnant earnings below 2008 levels, and rapidly increasing housing costs. The convergence of these factors paints a grim outlook for the UK, pointing towards sustained challenges in combating poverty.

In conclusion, the JRF’s analysis paints a stark picture of the deepening crisis of poverty in the UK, emphasizing the urgency of comprehensive measures to address the root causes and provide relief to those grappling with financial hardship.

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