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More than 14M in Britain living in poverty, gov't study says

By Nicholas Sakelaris
A total of 14.3 million people in Britain live in some form of poverty, the study said. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A total of 14.3 million people in Britain live in some form of poverty, the study said. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 29 (UPI) -- A new social study Monday from the British government says more than 14 million people in the country are living in some kind of poverty, a figure that includes more than 2 million children.

The report said 14.3 million are considered impoverished, including 4.6 million children. About 4.5 million Britons are trapped in deep poverty, meaning they struggle to pay for the most basic living essentials.

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The study, by the Social Metrics Commission, urges Johnson to take immediate action by reversing fiscal cuts to work and pension budgets it says made the problems worse.

The study said 7 million Britons -- including 2.3 million children -- are affected by "persistent" poverty, meaning they met the definition in two of the last three years. Overall, 14.3 million in Britain are impoverished in some way.

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The report came five days after Johnson succeeded Theresa May as British prime minister and Conservative Party leader.

"For too many years there has been a debate about how to measure poverty, which has distracted focus from the action needed to drive better outcomes for the most disadvantaged people in society," Social Metrics Commission chair Philippa Stroud said in a statement. "Decisions made by policymakers can have a significant impact on who is in poverty and how deep and persistent that poverty is. These new findings highlight the urgent need for a more united and concerted approach."

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The analysis said deep poverty is highest among ethnic minorities. Nearly half of black families and 37 percent of Asian families are in poverty. It also found nearly half of people in poverty -- nearly 7 million -- live in a family where someone is disabled.

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Extreme poverty is on the rise, too, the report said, with 1.5 million people living on $155 a week for a British couple with two children. Even in families where all adults work full time, one in six children are in poverty.

Experts say the issue deserves renewed attention, particularly with the change in leadership.

"We need our new prime minister to get to work immediately on a bold plan to boost living standards and support our towns and cities in building a more hopeful economic future," said Helen Barnard, commission member and poverty expert at Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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