The #WorkingPoor in the UK: The devastating Facts

Conjure up an image of a poor family. What do you visualise? Jobless parent(s) watching TV all day, waking up at 2pm, drinking endless tea and smoking multiple cigarettes?

The truth will shock you.

Envisage getting up at 5am every day and walking 2 miles to work, which is doubly hard because of the late finish last night in your other job. Now imagine on payday after bills and rent are paid, there is no money left to feed your family.

This is the appalling reality of the working poor in this country in 2013.

66 per cent of children in absolute poverty come from working households in Great Britain. That means two out of three children who are poor have at least one working parent who cannot survive on the income they receive. The fragile position of these families means they face a relentless battle between hardship and absolute crisis, but still go to work everyday. Where is the justice in that?

Government claims that working is a way out of poverty is refuted by the dramatic rise in the number of working people who cannot live on their wages, which often just meet the National minimum wage of £6.19 per hour. This equates to more than 1.5 million children in the UK who live absolute poverty despite having at least one working parent.

Since the financial crisis began in 2008 the number of people in financial dire straights has risen dramatically. Cost of living, inflation and tax rises have amplified as wages and benefits have remained stunted. Now poverty figures are thought to be much higher in reality, as the devastating impact of bedroom tax, full time job cuts and other measures have not yet impacted on the government’s statistics. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the new council tax support (CTS) system coming into effect across England’s 326 local councils has resulted in a ten per cent drop in available funds to help people pay their council tax. On a frugal income the effect of this is devastating.

What can be done to alleviate the impending financial doom of many working people and their deprived children?

The Living Wage is a good start.

The Centre for Civil Society Limited is a subsidiary of Citizens UK Charity and is accountable for the programme in which any company or organisation can apply for the Living Wage Employer accreditation. The new Living Wage campaign aims to eradicate unfairly low pay by setting an hourly rate (done independently and updated annually). Companies and organisations can join, thus promoting the financial and overall well being of their employees.

The current Living Wage is £7.45 and £8.55 in London. Wage levels are calculated yearly by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and in London by the Greater London Authority, which covers all boroughs in Greater London. Right now in Britain the minimum wage for adults over 21 is £6.19 soon to be increasing to £6.31 in October 2013.

No Limits promotes equality and fairness, so it was a natural step to apply to the organisation supporting living wages. Soon No Limits will be displaying the official logo of Living Wage on the website and will be legitimately affiliated with a company that promotes fair pay, extending to all employees who fall under the minimum threshold. We expect to see an increase in demand of our services for those young people afflicted by social deprivation and poverty in Southampton, as this disproportionate gap between pay and living costs continue to grow.

Do you believe in the fair pay of low-skilled jobs, so those working can afford to feed their families?

The long term economic effect on the country will be disastrous if this unbalanced pay is allowed to continue. Right now surprisingly the number of poverty-stricken people in work outstrips the number of poor out of work.

Working should be a way out poverty. Let’s make it happen.

Join the Living Wage campaign and promote fair pay in the UK.


Read more about the Living Wage and our work at No Limits by visiting:

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Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

24a Bernard Street



SO14 3AY


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