Working Out of Poverty: A study of the low-paid and the 'working poor'

Published Thu 3 Jan 2008
The rights to work and earn a decent living are timeless demands of the labour movement and basic characteristics of a fair society. However, almost six in ten poor households in the UK (57 per cent) have someone at work, up ten percentage points on a decade ago, according to new analysis presnted in this report. For too many families, moving into work has not meant moving out of poverty. This report presents the findings of our analysis into the extent and nature of both low pay and working poverty, and set out recommendations for tackling them.

The rights to work and earn a decent living are timeless demands of the labour movement and basic characteristics of a fair society. However, almost six in ten poor households in the UK (57 per cent) have someone at work, up ten percentage points on a decade ago, according to new analysis presnted in this report. For too many families, moving into work has not meant moving out of poverty.

While work is undoubtedly the surest route out of poverty, it is far from an inevitable one. This report uses new analysis to investigate the extent and nature of poverty among working families, with a particular focus on the relationship with low pay. We find that 'working poverty' is caused by a range of factors, requiring a sophisticated response. However, this complexity does not obscure the simple message that working poverty constitutes a drag on economic performance and a serious social injustice.

This report presents the findings of our analysis into the extent and nature of both low pay and working poverty, and set out recommendations for tackling them.

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