Low Incomes

Cabinet Office written question – answered at on 21 November 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to question 173699, what the distinction is between the terms relative low income and poverty as used in respect of national statistics; when this distinction was first introduced; and what policy considerations informed the decision to introduce the term relative low income.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Government uses a range of measures to quantify poverty. Relative low income is one measure, and has been used in the Households Below Average Income National Statistics publication for some time. The term relative income was first used in the "Households Below Average Income 1979 to 1991/92" publication. Relative low income is an internationally recognised term, and someone is in relative low income if they are in a household that receives less than 60% of the median equivalised net household income ('average income'). Other main measures of poverty presented in the Households Below Average Income National Statistics publication include:

Absolute low income—where someone lives in a household that receives less than 60% of the average household income in 2010-11 adjusted for inflation;

Combined low income and material deprivation for children—where a child is in material deprivation and lives in households where income is less than 70% of the average household income;

Persistent poverty—where someone lives in a household where income is less than 60% of average income for at least three out of the last four years;

Material deprivation for pensioners; and

Threshold variations for relative and absolute low income—where someone lives in a household that receives less than 50 or 70% of the average household income. These measures are supplementary to the 60% measure.

We want to develop better measures of child poverty, which include, but go beyond income to provide a more accurate picture of the reality of child poverty and drive the right action. Our consultation on how best to measure child poverty closed on 15 February. The complexity of the issue means that we need to take time to ensure we have the best option for measuring child poverty. We will publish our response as soon as we can.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.