Issue date
22 Mar 2018
  • New official statistics show working age poverty isn’t falling, despite employment growth
  • Government must reverse cuts to Universal Credit and take action to create better-paid, more secure jobs, says TUC

Commenting on the latest Household Below Average Income (HBAI) data published today (Thursday) which shows that 55% of those living in poverty are in working families Frances O’Grady said:

“If you work hard, you shouldn’t have to worry about making ends meet. But today’s figures show that despite rising employment, millions of people in working households are trapped in poverty.

“And unless government reverses its planned cuts to universal credit, things will get much worse.

“Working people desperately need a new deal. This means cracking down on zero-hours contracts and sham self-employment. And investment is needed in infrastructure and public services to support more great jobs that people can live on.”

Editors note

- The TUC is calling on the government to improve pay and increase the supply of well-paid work by:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to £10 as quickly as possible
  • Giving all public-sector workers a fully funded proper pay rise, after years of pay cuts
  • Raising public investment to the OECD average of 3.5% of GDP, so that the UK has the infrastructure needed to attract business and create well-paid jobs
  • Establishing a National Investment Bank, with a remit to target communities where good quality and well-paid jobs are most needed
  • Strengthening collective bargaining rights for workers, and setting up new bodies to negotiate pay in sectors where low pay is endemic, such as hospitality, agricultural labour and care work

- Households are in poverty if they fall below 60% of median household income after housing costs.

- 7.9 million people in working households were in poverty in 2016/17.

- Today’s full data release from the Office for National Statistics on Households below average income 1994/95 to 2016/17 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201617

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Join the march and rally in London on 12 May We demand a new deal for working people!