Working Poor

Eoin Clarke, part of the remaining left of the Labour Party has kindly done this chart, which illustrates the problem with Labour's welfare spending in the past.

I disagree with his conclusions, and think taken in context of rest of Labour's history on welfare, this is symptomatic of a much deeper problem. The same problem at the heart of our financial crisis. But it is a useful chart nonetheless.

The number of 'working poor' has doubled in 3 years.

In November 2008, just 10% of existing housing benefit recipients were employed. Most HB claimants were unemployed, elderly or disabled. But since that date there has been an explosion in the 'working poor'. By that term I mean people who although in employment  cannot afford a roof over their head. (see below)

In the last 32 months, the portion of 'new' Housing Benefit claimants who are in employment has increased five fold. There are now more people added to the Housing Benefit register who are working than who are not. A majority (55%) of new Housing Benefit claimants are the working poor. A national tragedy is unfolding before our eyes. So how many people are we talking about (see below).

The numbers of working poor have doubled in less than 3 yeas. In November 2008, just over 400,000 workers could not afford a roof over their heads. But by July 2011, that figure had climbed to over 800,000. In the next year it is quite likely the number of working poor will breach 1,000,000. That landmark will be a sad reflection of the state of UK housing. The only solution to this problem is to build affordable homes that help reduce the annual private rental bill of £8,500 a year.

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