Around 1 million children in the UK experienced “horrifying levels of destitution” last year, a major new poverty report has revealed.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has found that 3.8 million people faced destitution – the most extreme form of hardship – in 2022. That is a 61% increase since 2019.
People are considered destitute if they have not been able to meet their most basic needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. There has been an even greater increase in the number of children living in these dangerous conditions, up by 88% since 2019.
Paul Kissack, the chief executive of the JRF, said: “Across our country we are leaving families freezing in their homes or lacking basic necessities like food and clothing. Such severe hardship should have no place in the UK today – and the British public will not stand for destitution on this scale.”
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The number of people experiencing destitution in the UK has more than doubled in the last five years, up from over 1.5m in 2017. And the number of children facing destitution has almost tripled.
Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University, said: “This is the most comprehensive and detailed study of its type but having robust data on destitution is meaningless unless acted upon at the highest levels.