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More than 14 million Britons live in poverty, report reveals

MORE than 14 million people in Britain live in “persistent poverty,” a new report by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) has found.

Of these 8.4m were working-age adults, 4.5m children and 1.4m people were of pension age.

Additionally, 2.5m residents are at risk of falling into poverty, the report suggested.

Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova said: “It is shocking that under this government, almost half of those living in poverty are disabled or live with someone who is.

“This report definitively shows the devastating impact of social security cuts on disabled people and their families.”

The SMC was brought together to develop what it says is a new approach to poverty measurement, accounting for the impact of “inescapable” costs such as childcare on weekly income, and the impact that disability has on people’s needs.

It also aims to include groups of people previously omitted from poverty statistics, like those living on the streets or in overcrowded housing.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood said: “The government’s strategy to tackle poverty consists of trying to mask the deep cuts it has made to social security by disputing the numbers of people in poverty.

“The new measure importantly shows the impact of debt, housing and childcare costs, and the extra costs that disabled people face. The extent of poverty it reveals among disabled people and their families is a major concern given the severe cuts to support to them in Universal Credit.”

Labour will put tackling poverty at the heart of government policy by ending the social security freeze, introducing a £10 Real Living Wage and building the affordable housing that is “desperately needed,” she added.

The Scottish National Party has called on the government to take “urgent action” at the Budget to tackle poverty following the report’s findings.

A government spokeswoman said: “Measuring poverty is complex, and this report offers further insight into that complexity and the additional measures that can be taken into consideration.

“This government is committed to making a positive difference to the outcomes for poor and disadvantaged families and children.”

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