Benefits & welfare reform
of Londoners claimed an out-of-work benefit in 2016. This is a lower proportion than the rest of England.
The social security system has a major impact on poverty because benefits are a key income component for poorer families, both in-work and out-of-work. Benefit payments made up 46% of disposable income on average for a UK family in the bottom fifth of the income distribution in 2015/2016. As such, low income families are greatly affected by changes/reductions to social security benefits.
This set of indicators highlights the reduced generosity of the welfare system and the removal of some protections for those at the bottom of the income distribution.
The Coalition and Conservative Governments have implemented a major programme of cuts and changes since 2010. Some of these were made directly to the current benefit system, for example through the 'bedroom tax' (or 'underoccupation penalty'); others are coming into effect as claimants move to Universal Credit, which is slowly being rolled out to replace six means-tested benefits. In addition, benefits have been frozen until 2020, but inflation means that benefit incomes will be reduced in real terms.
The proportion of the working age population claiming out-of-work benefits in London has dropped to 8%, compared to 12% in 2010. The percentage of unemployed people who claim benefits has fallen during this time though, suggesting that there is a widening gap between benefit receipt and benefit need. The benefit cap, introduced in 2013 and reduced further in 2016, affected 15,300 households in 2017 – particularly affecting families with children. The number of benefit sanctions across London has reduced significantly from its peak in 2012, down to 40,000. This may rise again if the Universal Credit sanction rate does not go down as it is rolled out further though, because the sanction rate for Universal Credit in 2016 was 6% - higher than the Job Seeker's Allowance sanction rate has ever been.
From our Twitter
This interactive table compares Poverty Child Poverty Inequality Homelessness Temporary Accommodation Evictions Affordability Unemployment Low Pay Benefits Council Tax Support GCSE attainment Infant Mortality Premature Mortality in each London borough. https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/data/boroughs/overview-of-london-boroughs/ … pic.twitter.com/EuJJzZz4Tf23 Aug 2018
. @patrickjbutler uses our @PovertyLondon data to highlight that #TowerHamlets has the highest level of child poverty in #London (43%) as a surge of wealthy incomers are skewing deprivation figures. As a London council leader says the reality of poverty is still very much present https://twitter.com/patrickjbutler/status/1177481438985240577 …27 Sep 2019
Official figures suggest that the proportion of households in work has risen, however in-work poverty remains a growing issue. Our @PovertyLondon data shows that that there are 450,000 more Londoners in working families in poverty compared to 10 years ago http://bit.ly/2ZBVYRr30 Aug 2019
A new report says that elderly people living in the UK suffer some of the highest levels of poverty in western Europe. Our @PovertyLondon data shows that 19% of London’s pensioners live below the poverty line, higher than anywhere else in England (14%) http://bit.ly/2P6l76w20 Aug 2019