Fuel Poverty in the UK

Fuel poverty: How can UK tackle cold homes and high bills?, By Dave Harvey, November 17, 2016, BBC News: “When the temperature drops and the chill sets in, people in the UK are more likely to feel it in their homes than their continental neighbours. In European surveys comparing 16 countries with similar climates, the UK was near the bottom.  Why? Because it has the draughtiest windows and least insulated homes. For many families that means the moment they turn off the heating, the warmth goes out of the windows…”

Teenage Pregnancy in the UK

How the UK halved its teenage pregnancy rate, By Amelia Hill, July 18, 2016, The Guardian: “Rates of teenage pregnancy in the UK have halved in the past two decades and are now at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in the late 1960s. It is a dramatic turnaround: in 1998, England had one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in western Europe. Last week, the Office for National Statistics released data revealing the fall in the conception rate among females aged 15 to 19 as the standout success story in the public health field: just 14.5 per 1,000 births were to women in their teens, with drops in all age groups under 25…”

Poverty in the UK

A third of people in the UK have experienced poverty in recent years, By Katie Allen, May 16, 2016, The Guardian: “One in three people have experienced poverty in recent years, according to figures that underline the precarious nature of work in Britain. Anti-poverty campaigners welcomed news that the proportion of people experiencing long-term, or persistent, poverty had declined to one of the lowest rates in the EU. But they highlighted Britons’ relatively high chances of falling into poverty as the latest evidence that a preponderance of low-paying and low-skilled jobs left many families at risk of hardship…”

Poverty in the UK

Poverty – and child poverty in particular – is rising, By Patrick Butler, April 29, 2015, The Guardian: “Poverty in the UK is increasing after two years of heavy welfare cuts have helped to push hundreds of thousands of people below the breadline, according to an independent study of the coalition government’s record.  Although middle-earners saw incomes rise marginally after 2013, policies including the bedroom tax and below-inflation benefits rises have reduced incomes for the poorest, pitching an estimated 760,000 into poverty since the last official figures were produced, according to the New Policy Institute (NPI) thinktank…”

UK Cost of Living and Poor Households

300,000 more people live in poverty than previously thought, study finds, By Larry Elliott, November 4, 2014, The Guardian: “The number of people living in dire poverty in Britain is 300,000 more than previously thought due to poorer households facing a higher cost of living than the well off, according to a study released on Wednesday. A report produced by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that soaring prices for food and fuel over the past decade have had a bigger impact on struggling families who spend more of their budgets on staple goods. By contrast, richer households had been the beneficiaries of the drop in mortgage rates and lower motoring costs…”

Fuel Poverty – United Kingdom

Heating bills concern 38% of UK population, survey suggests, September 5, 2013, BBC News: “More than a third of people in the UK say they are concerned about paying for their heating bills this winter, a BBC Radio 5 live survey has suggested. It found 25% of people had put up with “unacceptably cold” homes in the past year as they struggle to pay bills. And 63% of the 1,035 adults surveyed said they had cut their energy use because of rising costs…”

Child Poverty in the UK

  • One in six children lives in poverty, UK statistics show, By Angela Harrison, June 13, 2013, BBC News: “At least one out of every six children in the UK lives in relative poverty, according to data released by the Department for Work and Pensions. In 2011-12, 2.3 million UK children (17%) lived in homes with substantially lower than average income. This rises to 27% (3.5 million) if measured after housing costs are paid. Children’s campaigners say the true figure is higher and that 300,000 more children live in poor homes than in the previous year. This is because there are two accepted ways of measuring poverty – relative and absolute…”
  • Poverty rose by 900,000 in coalition’s first year, By Patrick Butler, June 13, 2013, The Guardian: “An additional 900,000 people were plunged into poverty during the first year of the coalition government, including 300,000 more children, according to official figures. Charities pointed out that the entire increase in children counted as in poverty in 2011-12 came from working households. Children living below the poverty line were now twice as likely to come from working families than those without employment. The situation is likely to get worse, say charities, because the statistics covered the period before a range of austerity measures and welfare cuts – including the bedroom tax and the abolition of council tax benefit – were introduced…”

Child Poverty in the UK

  • One in four UK children will be living in poverty by 2020, says thinktank, By Randeep Ramesh, May 7, 2013, The Guardian: “One in four children in Britain – 3.4 million – will be in relative poverty by 2020, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned. In a report, conducted for the Northern Ireland executive but held to describe the position in the UK as a whole, the IFS says ‘tax and benefit reforms introduced since April 2010 can account for almost all of the increases in child poverty projected over the next few years’…”
  • 1.1m children forecast to fall back into poverty – wiping out a decade of gains, By John Bingham, May 7, 2013, The Telegraph: “The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revised its previous estimates to forecast that 3.4 million British children will be living in households classed as in poverty by the end of a decade dominated by recession. The new projection, contained in an analysis commissioned by the devolved Northern Ireland Executive, means that the number of children in poverty is set to increase by 1.1 million this decade, instead of 800,000 as previously thought. It would take the UK back to the child poverty levels last seen at the turn of the century when the then Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a plan to ‘eradicate’ it…”

Food Bank Use in the UK

Number of people turning to food banks triples in a year, By Patrick Butler, April 23, 2013, The Guardian: “More than 350,000 people turned to food banks for help last year, almost triple the number who received food aid in the previous year and 100,000 more than anticipated, according to the UK’s biggest food crisis charity. The Trussell Trust said the dramatic increase in the use of its food banks was set to continue in the coming months as poorer families struggle financially as a result of the government’s welfare reforms…”

Child Well-Being in Developed Countries

  • UNICEF report: Canada ranks 17th of 29 for well-being of children, By Laurie Monsebraaten, April 10, 2013, Toronto Star: “If you think Canada is one of the best places to raise a child, think again. The latest report on the well-being of children in rich countries ranks Canada 17th out of 29, a score that hasn’t budged in almost a decade, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The country scored ‘below average’ grades for child poverty and obesity and children’s life satisfaction, says the report to be released Wednesday. The Netherlands ranked first overall, followed by Norway and Iceland. Romania was last…”
  • British children facing bleaker future than rest of Europe, warns Unicef, By Josie Ensor, April 10, 2013, The Telegraph: “A report by the UN children’s fund has found that they are worse off overall than in many other industrialised countries, including less wealthy nations such as Slovenia and the Czech Republic. The charity ranked the UK 16th out of 29 developed countries — three places higher than in its last report in 2007. While its overall rating for ‘child well-being’ has gone up, Britain now has the lowest number of young people in further education and one of the highest numbers of under-age drinkers and teenage pregnancies…”

Public Benefit Reforms in the UK

  • Benefits changes: Warnings as crisis loans scrapped, By Alex Campbell, March 29, 2013, BBC News: “A national scheme to aid vulnerable people in financial trouble is ending just as demand for such help is expected to surge, campaigners warn. Community care grants and crisis loans paid through job centres, as part of the social fund, will end on Monday. Instead, councils in England and the Scottish and Welsh governments are being given funding to provide alternatives. Critics warn demand will rise as the government’s welfare changes kick in. And, they fear, the changes means help for tens of thousands of people will be a “postcode lottery”, meaning the level of aid they get will be dependent on where they live…”
  • Food vouchers to provide emergency help but prevent spending on alcohol, By Patrick Butler, March 26, 2013, The Guardian: “‘Food stamps’ arrive in Britain next month, when tens of thousands of vulnerable people will be issued with food vouchers in lieu of money to tide them over short-term financial crises. Rather than, as now, offering a cash loan, most councils will from April offer new applicants who qualify for emergency assistance a one-off voucher redeemable for goods such as food and nappies. Many of the 150 local authorities in England running welfare schemes have confirmed that they will issue the vouchers in the form of payment cards, which will be blocked or monitored to prevent the holder using them for alcohol, cigarettes or gambling. Several plan to issue charity food parcels to people applying for crisis help, and are preparing to give cash grants to food banks to enable them to take on full-time staff and increase opening hours. Each authority has drawn up eligibility rules, setting out who will qualify for crisis help and the conditions under which it will be given. One plans to make emergency help conditional on good behaviour…”

Working Families in Poverty – Britain

  • Increasing numbers of working people live in poverty, report finds, By Randeep Ramesh, November 25, 2012, The Guardian: “Increasing numbers of people in work are finding themselves in poverty, according to a report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The report highlights the growing incidence of well-educated people on the breadline because of a failure to find a job. The report charts the changes in recent decades in levels of poverty in Britain – and seeks to explain why, despite higher levels of employment and a more qualified workforce, there has not been more success in combating poverty. The Monitoring Poverty report calls for the government to ‘give up the belief that welfare reform’ is the solution and focus instead on the phenomenon of in-work poverty…”
  • The working poor: staggering 6m facing insecurity have jobs, November 26, 2012, London Evening Standard: “Millions of workers are facing insecurity, moving in and out of jobs, and poverty, according to a new report. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said over six million people classed as living in poverty, were in households where people worked. Excluding pensioners, in-work poverty now outstrips workless poverty, while 1.4 million people were now working part-time when they wanted a full-time job, an increase of 500,000 since 2009, said the report…”

Child Poverty in the UK

Child poverty: Definition could include family breakdown, November 15, 2012, BBC News: “Family breakdown, drug addiction, debt and education results are among the factors that could be used to measure child poverty in future, ministers say. Recent figures showed fewer children in poverty – but largely because falling wages have narrowed the gap between the poorest and average earners. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says this income-based method of measuring poverty is too simple. He is launching a consultation on how to include other factors. But Labour suggested that the government was trying to ‘distract attention’ from ‘rather bleak’ trends in child poverty data…”

Fuel Poverty in the UK

Fuel poverty figures show decrease, but are expected to rise again, By Hilary Osborne, May 17, 2012, The Guardian: “The number of UK households in fuel poverty fell in 2010, but rising energy bills and the reduction of funds for energy efficiency measures mean the fall is likely to be short lived, experts have warned. Figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed that the number of households spending more than 10% of income on fuel to maintain an adequate temperature, the official definition of fuel poverty, fell by 750,000, or 11%, in 2010 to a total of 4.75 million. Despite the fall, one in five households across the UK remained in fuel poverty, and consumer groups pointed out that a £150 increase in average bills since the period the figures cover mean many more people may have been pushed back into difficulties…”

Black Unemployment in the UK and US

Black people more likely to be jobless in Britain than US, research reveals, By Randeep Ramesh, April 12, 2012, The Guardian: “Black people in Britain are more likely to be unemployed than those in the United States, especially during recessions, with successive UK governments ‘failing to protect minority ethnic groups’, research reveals. A paper presented on Friday at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Leeds shows that in the last three recessions, unemployment among black British men was up to 19 percentage points higher than among those in America. Yaojun Li, professor of sociology at Manchester University, told the conference that in Britain black male unemployment reached 29% in the early 1980s recession, 36% in the early 1990s and 22% in 2011. Unemployment figures for black men in the US were 22%, 17% and 22%…”

Poverty Rate – London, UK

Poverty is shifting from inner to outer London, report finds, By Simon Rogers and Hélène Mulholland, April 11, 2012, The Guardian: “Outer London has seen rising levels of poverty while the number of poorer areas in central London is reducing, according to a new analysis of official deprivation data. Although the poorest places in the capital are still in the eastern centre of the city, there are fears that poverty is being pushed out into the suburbs amid evidence of a significant increase in deprived areas in the outer boroughs between 2004 and 2010…”

Youth Minimum Wage Rates – UK

Minimum wage frozen for young people, March 19, 2012, The Telegraph: “The adult rate of the minimum wage is to rise by 11p to £6.19 an hour from October, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced today. But the rates for younger workers will be frozen at £4.98 for 18 to 20-year-olds and £3.68 for 16 to 17-year-olds. Apprentices will enjoy a 5p increase in their minimum wage to £2.65 an hour. The changes are in line with the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission and come into effect on October 1…”

Fuel Poverty – England

  • Fuel poverty to rise to 8.5m, report warns, By Damian Kahya, March 15, 2012, BBC News: “Fuel poverty in England is likely to worsen, despite measures to try to eradicate it, a government-commissioned report has warned. Some 7.8 million people could not afford their energy bills in 2009, its author, Prof John Hills said. This is due to rise to 8.5 million by 2016. Campaigners have called for more money to be invested in cutting bills. The government has said it is committed to tackling the problem which has been linked to 2,700 deaths a year…”
  • Nine million will live in ‘fuel poverty’ in the next four years, By Simon Read, March 16, 2012, The Independent: “Almost nine million people will live in fuel poverty in the next four years despite ministerial pledges to eradicate it by 2016, a Government-commissioned report has warned. The author of the report, Professor John Hills, warned that official plans to fight fuel poverty are failing. ‘The Government should set out a renewed and ambitious strategy for tackling fuel poverty,’ he said. The existing definition of a household in fuel poverty is one which spends more than 10 per cent of its income on energy. But Professor Hills, director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics, says the definition is misleading as it excludes some people whose incomes are so low they are reduced to spending only minuscule amounts of money on fuel. Proportionally they are not considered in fuel poverty…”

Teen Pregnancy – England

  • Teen pregnancy rate lowest since 1969, By Michelle Roberts, February 28, 2012, BBC News: “The teen pregnancy rate in England and Wales has reached its lowest since 1969, new data shows. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show conceptions in under-18s fell to 34,633 in 2010 compared with 38,259 in 2009, a drop of 9.5%. Pregnancies in under-16s also went down – by 6.8% to 6,674 in total from 7,158 the previous year…”
  • Teen pregnancies at lowest level since 1960s, By Stephen Adams, February 28, 2012, The Telegraph: “The teenage pregnancy rate has fallen to its lowest level since the 1960s, according to official figures released on Tuesday. The rate for girls aged 15 to 17 in 2010 – the most recent period for which figures are available – was 35.5 per 1,000 – the lowest since 1969. The number of pregnancies in under 18s fell almost 10 per cent between 2009 and 2010, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Family planning organisations claim the drop is due to better sex education…”

Fuel Poverty – UK

  • One in four face fuel poverty, says Consumer Focus, December 2, 2011, BBC News: “The proportion of homes in fuel poverty in England and Wales has risen from 18% to 24% in two years, estimates suggest. Consumer Focus calculated that nearly 5.7 million households are in fuel poverty – when more than 10% of their disposable income is spent on fuel. The watchdog said the issue was particularly acute in Wales, where 41% of households were in fuel poverty…”
  • One in four households suffer from fuel poverty, By Donna Bowater and James Kirkup, December 2, 2011, The Telegraph: “New calculations by Consumer Focus show more than five million households are now forced to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on heating and lighting their homes. The previous forecast of 4.1 million households was made before the big six energy suppliers increased huge price rises last summer. The figure has risen 25 per cent from last year when a fifth of homes were struggling with fuel poverty after sharp increases in energy bills in the autumn. It means the Government is unlikely to meet its legal obligation to end fuel poverty within five years…”