nick watson | 03.10.2004 23:38 | Liverpool
Beetham Tower, Liverpool
Off Plan Due Sept '04
Two Beds 22nd Floor
Secure Parking River Views
The HBAI figures show that people without work, families with children and large families are more likely to be poor. Children and women are also more likely to be poor than men. Seventy per cent of low-paid jobs in 2001 were part time. Part-time incomes are often insufficient to lift a family out of poverty - almost a third of households with one (or more) adults working part time and none full time are in the bottom fifth of incomes. In 2002/03, nearly half of those children in income poverty lived in a household in which at least one adult worked.
Poverty is not simply about being on a low income and going without - it is also to do with being denied good health, education, good housing and social activities, as well as basic self-esteem. One survey found that 1 in 20 mothers
sometimes went without food to meet the needs of their children. The diets of those on a low income are often nutritionally poor, relying on 'cheap calories' from processed low-cost food.
People on low incomes often experience debt. A third of households with incomes of less than £9,000 a year have problems with debt. Costs of debt repayments often result in families going without essential items. Other costs of debt are those incurred on health, relationships and quality of life.
Poverty has an effect throughout the life cycle, from an increased risk of sickness and ill health in childhood to a higher incidence of chronic diseases in adult life. Children are twice as likely to die within their first year if
their parents are from unskilled manual rather than professional classes. In Scotland, mortality rates in the 10 per cent most deprived areas are double those of the least deprived 50 per cent.
Living standards are not evenly spread across the country, or within each city, town or village; the UK ranks second only to Mexico in the industrialised world in terms of its degree of regional inequality. London contains extremes of poverty and wealth - 35 per cent of the Inner London population were in income poverty in 2002/03, compared with 23 per cent in Outer London. A fifth of rural households are in income poverty and people who live in rural areas may be more likely to experience low pay.
There are also differences within each region and country of the UK. For example, in 2003 the North East had a higher proportion of households without work (22 per cent) than the South East (11 per cent). Of the countries in the UK, Northern Ireland had the greatest number of children eligible for free school meals (a proxy measure of poverty). In 2000/01 Wales had the highest percentage of children living in workless households (19.5 per cent) in the UK.
Over a third of all children in developing countries - 674 million children - are living in absolute poverty, with the highest rates in sub-Saharan Africa (207 million children). Around 23 per cent of the global population currently lives in extreme poverty.
The share of total income received by those in the top and bottom tenths of the income distribution reflects a pattern of rising inequality in Great Britain. Between 1994/95 and 2001/02, the richest tenth gained 2 per cent more of the total income (29 per cent) while the poorest tenth's share remained unaltered at 2 per cent.
In 2001/02 the original income of the top fifth of households was 18 times more than that of the bottom fifth. Taxes and social security benefits reduce income inequalities but the income of the wealthiest fifth of households remained four times greater than that of the lowest income households. Wealth is even more unequally distributed than income. By 2001 the wealthiest 1 per cent of the UK population owned almost a quarter - 23 per cent - of the UK's marketable wealth and the wealthiest half owned almost all the wealth - 95 per cent.