Hundreds of thousands more children and pensioners have been plunged into poverty over the last four years.
A devastating report has today revealed some 400,000 more youngsters and 300,000 more elderly people are now living in poverty compared to 2012/13.
The results track the period in which the Conservative’s austerity cuts were implemented, highlighting the ruinous impact they have had on British society.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation chief executive Campbell Robb said: “These worrying figures suggest that we are at a turning point in our fight against poverty. Political choices, wage stagnation and economic uncertainty mean that hundreds of thousands more people are now struggling to make ends meet. This is a very real warning sign that our hard-fought progress is in peril.
“Action to tackle child and pensioner poverty has provided millions of families with better living standards and financial security. However record employment is not leading to lower poverty, changes to benefits and tax credits are reducing incomes and crippling costs are squeezing budgets to breaking point.”
According to the foundation new threats are emerging to people in the poorest fifth of households, including becoming trapped in “in work poverty” – where at least one person in the household is employed, struggling to be able to afford a home, rising living costs and being unable to afford bills or save for retirement.
It has urged the government to end the four-year freeze on working-age benefits and tax credits, which it says is the single biggest driver of poverty.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said the increase in rates is “totally unacceptable”.
“The last seven years of flat-lining wages and austerity cuts, now combined with sharply rising costs of household essentials is a truly terrifying prospect for millions trying to make ends meet,” she added.
“The cuts to Universal Credit, which were not addressed in the recent budget and mean that ‘work does not always pay’, will push even more children and working age adults into poverty.
“Even the government’s own social mobility commission has resigned over their failure to act.”