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Unemployment and poverty

28 January 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 2

The impact that COVID-19 will have on nations, communities and individuals is far from certain but an impact it will have for every one of us. In 2010, Goulden noted that household incomes are dynamic, with families moving in and out of poverty over time. The latest lockdown brings with it another challenge for families as their incomes are cut or disappear altogether. As the consequences of COVID-19 play out across the world, there is a disproportionate impact on poor and marginalised communities.

Thousands of people in the UK are being forced into unemployment, with little support or safety netting in place. This brings with it an expansion of hunger, homelessness and ill health. COVID-19 has exacerbated the effects of unemployment and poverty or it could be suggested that COVID-19 has opened up Pandora's box and revealed what was already there—pre-pandemic existing poverty.

The overall poverty rate for the UK is 22% this is the same as in 2019 and only slightly lower than the 23% seen in 2000/2001 (Social Metrics Commission, 2020). The incidence of deep poverty (defined as those living more than 50% below the poverty line) is of concern as this has increased over the past 20 years. There are around 4.5 million people (7% of the UK population) living in this deepest form of poverty. In 2000/2001 this deep level of poverty stood at 2.8 million people (equating to 5% of the population).

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