UK’s poorest ‘will be left behind’

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The UK is at risk of becoming a “permanently divided” nation with the poorest in society left behind, a major report has warned.

It says that the country is likely to see an unprecedented rise in child poverty over the next decade, amid the biting impact of welfare cuts and low pay.

There is a risk that 2020 could be a watershed moment between an era in which everyone saw a rise in living standards to one that sees the poorest lose out.

The warning comes in the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s second annual state of the nation report. It suggests that there is “little prospect” of the immediate future promising more progress on social mobility – improving individuals’ life chances – than the recent past.

The Commission, led by former Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn, says that it shares the view of experts who predict that 2020 will mark not the eradication of child poverty but the end of the first decade in recent history in which it increased.

“A decade of rising absolute poverty is unprecedented since records began in the 1960s,” the report says.

“There is a clear risk that the year 2020 will mark not just a failure to meet the Government’s legal obligation to have ended child poverty but could mark a permanent decoupling of earnings growth and economic growth at the bottom end of the labour market.

“2020 could mark a watershed between an era in which for decades there have been rising living standards shared by all and a future era where rising living standards will bypass the poorest in society.”

It adds: “Social mobility, having flatlined in the latter part of the last century, would go into reverse in the first part of this century.

“The United Kingdom would become a permanently divided nation.”

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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