UK

Joseph Rowntree Foundation urges 'new deal' on poverty

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Media captionMark Easton reports from Port Talbot

A "new deal" to alleviate poverty in the UK by 2030 has been called for by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The independent charity said PM Theresa May's pledge of a post-Brexit UK that works for all must be delivered for the estimated 13 million people in poverty.

It wants a country where no one is ever destitute, less than 10% are in poverty at any one time and no one remains in poverty for more than two years.

The foundation says poverty costs the UK £78bn a year.

This comprises £69bn in dealing with the impact of inequality and £9bn in lost tax revenues, it says.

The foundation argues for policies to improve education and skills, strengthen families and communities, boost incomes and end what it calls the poverty premium.

This is where people on low incomes pay more for goods and services.

'Must act now'

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the foundation, said: "A new 'long-term deal' to solve poverty is urgently needed so the first generation of 'Brexit children' starting school this week grow up in a country where no matter where they live, everyone has a chance of a decent and secure life.

"Previous approaches have been too piecemeal, failing to deal with issues such as the high cost of living.

"Poverty divides communities and generations; it harms people's potential and strains families; it drains the public purse and holds back our economy.

"The prime minister has made a promise to make Britain work for everyone and reform capitalism. As Westminster reconvenes this week, I urge her to deliver on this promise.

"If we don't take action now, poverty is set to increase for children and working-age adults. Poverty is the biggest social evil of our time - we must act now," Ms Unwin said.

The foundation wants the government to make an extra £1bn a year available to build 80,000 genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy in England.

It also wants changes to universal credit to make work pay and provide a strong safety net, and reform job centres to support people into secure and better-paid work.

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