British youngsters in poverty on the rise

A new research study has found that more and more UK youngsters are living in poverty. With 34% of 16-19-year-olds, and 29% of 20-24-year-olds, now living below the breadline, young people are – for the first time ever – more likely to be in poverty than pensioners. 

The figures are up 6% in the last decade and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) – which carried out the research – said that falling pay, zero-hour contracts and high rents were to blame. It also read that employment was no longer the standard route out of poverty with as many people in working families now living in poverty as in unemployed households. 

According to the report, incomes have also dropped by 9% on average in the five years to 2013. Average wages for full-time working men fell to £12.90 from £13.90 per hour during the same five period, with women seeing their hourly rate fall from £10.80 to £10.30. 

The report says that many people seem to be trapped in low-paid employment with a lowly 20% managing to leave that bracket over the past decade. The study also found a huge change in the labour market, including significant rises in zero-hours contracts, of which there are now 1.4 million. 

Part-time work and low-paid self-employment have also risen and the average self-employed worker earns 13% less than five years ago. Some 13 million people in the UK are classified as living in relative poverty – meaning their household income is below 60% of the average. 

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