Personal Income

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May Shadow Minister (Women), Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) children, (b) adults of working age and (c) pensioners were living in households with between 30 and 50 per cent. of median income in each year since 1997.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

holding answer 22 March 2010

Between 1998-99 and 2007-08 some 500,000 children were lifted out of relative poverty as measured using the EU standard definition based on 60 per cent. of median income. Measures announced in and since Budget 2007 are expected to lift around a further 550,000 children out of poverty. Absolute poverty has been halved.

Addressing pensioner poverty has been a priority for this Government. We have targeted help on the poorest pensioners, those who need it most, while providing a solid foundation of support for all.

We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Targeted support, such as pension credit and additional funding for all pensioners has contributed to 900,000 fewer pensioners in relative poverty (measured as below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income after housing costs) in 2007-08 than in 1998-99.

For 1997-98 to 2001-02, only information for Great Britain is available. We have therefore presented information covering Great Britain only.

Information splitting groups with incomes below 50 per cent. of median income is not presented in the Households Below Average Income series as it is an unreliable measure of poverty. Such data for households with an income lower than 50 per cent. of median are not considered to be accurate as an indicator of living standards. These figures are not National Statistics and caution must be applied because those people stating the lowest incomes in the Family Resources Survey, (the underlying data source for the Households Below Average Income series) may not actually have the lowest living standards. Using a threshold of 60 per cent. of median income is in line with international best practice.

Poverty for working age adults is presented after housing costs. Child poverty is presented both before housing costs and after housing costs, and pensioner poverty is presented after housing costs, in line with the relevant public service agreements.

The most commonly used figures relate to those with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income for the three groups.

The information given in the following table should therefore be treated with caution.

The numbers of children, working-age adults and pensioners in households with incomes between 30 and 50 per cent. of contemporary median income, Great Britain 1997-98 to 2007-08
Million
Children Working-age adults Pensioner
BHC AHC AHC AHC
1997-98 1.4 2.4 3.1 1.1
1998-99 1.4 2.4 3.2 1.1
1999-2000 1.3 2.3 3.1 1.0
2000-01 1.1 2.0 2.9 0.9
2001-02 1.1 1.9 2.8 0.9
2002-03 1.1 1.8 2.8 0.9
2003-04 1.0 1.7 2.8 0.8
2004-05 1.0 1.6 2.6 0.6
2005-06 1.0 1.7 3.0 0.6
2006-07 1.1 1.7 3.0 0.8
2007-08 1.1 1.8 3.1 0.8
Notes:

1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income, sourced from the Family Resources Survey. Both the Households Below Average Income series and the Family Resources Survey are available in the Library.

2. Small changes should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures are single financial years.

4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication 'Households Below Average Income' series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or 'equivalised') for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

5. For the Households Below Average Income series, incomes have been equivalised using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development equivalisation factors.

6. The number working-age adults, pensioners and children have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand individuals.

7. Figures are only available covering the United Kingdom from 1998-99.

8. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Source:

Households Below Average Income, DWP

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