In his recently published review of health inequalities – many of which are greatly determined by poverty – Professor Sir Michael Marmot said:
‘People with higher socioeconomic position in society have a greater array of life chances and more opportunities to lead a flourishing life. They also have better health. The two are linked: the more favoured people are, socially and economically, the better their health. This link between social conditions and health is not a footnote to the ‘real’ concerns with health – such as health care and unhealthy behaviours – but should become the main focus.
Consider one measure of social position: education. People with university degrees have better health and longer lives than those without. For people aged 30 and above, if everyone without a degree had their death rate reduced to that of people with degrees, there would be 202,000 fewer premature deaths each year. Surely this is a goal worth striving for. It is the view of all of us associated with this Review that we could go a long way to achieving that remarkable improvement by giving more people the life chances currently enjoyed by the few. The benefits of such efforts would be wider than lives saved. People in society would be better off in many ways: in the circumstances in which they are born, grow, live, work, and age. People would see improved well-being, better mental health and less disability, their children would flourish, and they would live in sustainable, cohesive communities.’
Fair Society, Healthy Lives, February 2010
Many health-related issues are worse for people living in poverty, including an increased risk of dying prematurely. People living in poverty are less likely to benefit from education to the same degree as others; are less likely to be in professional, managerial and skilled jobs; and are more likely to live in poor housing and in neighbourhoods where crime is more prevalent and where community safety is threatened. All of these conditions and circumstances can have an adverse effect on physical and mental health and well-being.
Poverty, or relative poverty, is commonly defined in terms of households with an income which, after tax, is below 60% of the median (average) household income (Aldridge et al, 2012). As such, the income required to prevent poverty depends upon household composition.
This topic is most closely associated with:
1. What are the key issues?
2. What commissioning priorities are recommended?
3. Who is at risk and why?
Children who live in a household where no parent works are in the highest risk category of being in poverty. In addition, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has reported that the Government’s 1% cap on welfare benefit increase will see:
Pensioner poverty has fallen from 29% in 1998/99 to 18% in 2007/08. However, many pensioners remain with incomes at, or just above, 60% of median income and there are still about 1.1million pensioners living in poverty (Work and Pensions Committee, 2009).
The composition of those in poverty is very different today than 10 or 20 years ago. The proportion of pensioners in poverty has halved since the early 1990s, while that of working age adults without children has risen by one third (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012).
In 2010/11, 2.3 million children (18%) were in households living below 60% of median income before housing costs and 3.6 million (27%) after housing costs (DWP, 2012b).
Health inequalities between deprived and non-deprived areas have grown in the last decade. A man in one of the least deprived areas can expect to live longer than a woman in one of the most deprived areas (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012).
Female single pensioners are more likely to live in poverty than single male pensioners; 23% compared with 16% (DWP, 2012b).
Many people on low incomes rely heavily on unsecured consumer credit to meet periodic needs. Their credit options are generally limited to higher cost providers in the credit market such as home credit, goods bought on credit from mail order catalogues or rental purchase shops.
Around one in twenty households does not have access to a transactional bank account and many who have recently opened a bank account struggle with some of the facilities provided (Kempson and Collard, 2012).
4. What is the level of need in the population?
ID 2010 measures deprivation at lower super-output area (LSOA) level. There are 117 LSOAs in Stockton-on-Tees, 34 of which (29%) are in the most deprived quintile in England. Eighteen LSOAs (with a combined population of 27,600) are in the most deprived 10% of LSOAs in England and 4 of these (population 6,200) are in the most deprived 1% in England.
The health inequalities indicator for local authorities shows that life expectancy for the most deprived in Stockton-on-Tees is lower than for the least deprived. For men, the difference is 15.3 years and for women it is 11.3 years. The differences in England are 7.7 and 5.6 years respectively. The differences between the most and least deprived groups in Stockton-on-Tees are the second largest in England for both men and women. In Dudley (a similar area) the differences are 9.9 years for men and 5.7 years for women (Network of Public Health Observatories, 2011).
The Indices of Deprivation 2010 contains an Income Deprivation Affecting Children Indicator (IDACI) for LSOAs (DCLG, 2011). In Stockton-on-Tees, one LSOA is in the most deprived 1% in England, namely E01012252 in Newtown ward, and an additional 14 LSOAs are in the most deprived 10% in England by this measure.
The proportion of children eligible for free school meals varies from 1.8% in Northern Parishes to over 40% in Hardwick, Newtown and Stockton Town Centre (Tees Valley Unlimited, 2012). Educational outcomes for children who are eligible for free school meals are worse than for the general population. The gap is wider at GCSE than at the end of key stage 2.
Working age adults
In November 2012 there were 2,320 people in Stockton-on-Tees who had been claiming JSA for more than 1 year. For 18-24 year-olds, the rate was 11.9% compared with 5.7% of the working age population and 2.8% of people aged 50-64 years (Nomis, 2012).
In April 2012, there were five LSOAs in Stockton-on-Tees where more than 15% of the working age population claimed JSA. This compared with a Stockton-on-Tees average of 5.8%, a North East rate of 7.6% and 4.9% in Great Britain. The following map shows LSOAs lower than the England rate in green and those lower than the North East rate in yellow.
Additional details can be found in the poverty chapter from Stockton-on-Tees JSNA 2010.
5. What services are currently provided?
The Communities Fund programme is about tackling worklessness and low levels of skills and enterprise in the most disadvantaged areas.
Stockton Integrated Youth Support Service manages the Get On In Life service which delivers support to targeted and vulnerable groups of young people aged 16- 19 helping them into employment, education and training.
Tees Valley Unlimited is the private and public sector Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) striving to deliver jobs and economic growth across the Tees Valley.
There is a food bank in Billingham.
Environment and housing
Arts, culture and leisure
Children and young people
Health and wellbeing
6. What is the projected level of need?
Relative child poverty is set to increase between 2010/11 and 2015/16 by about 400,000 in the UK. In the same time period absolute child poverty (as defined in the Child Poverty Act 2010) will increase by 500,000. About half of these increases will be in households where the youngest child is aged under 5 years. (Family and Parenting Institute, 2012). Such increases in Stockton-on-Tees would place an additional 1,200 children in relative poverty or 1,500 in absolute poverty.
The number of children in relative poverty is forecast to rise from 2.6 million in 2009/10 to 3.3 million by 2020/21 (measuring income before housing costs), and that of working-age adults from 5.7 million in 2009/10 to 7.5 million by 2020/21. The proportion of children in absolute poverty (using the 2010/11 poverty line fixed in real terms) is forecast to rise to 23 per cent by 2020/21, compared with the 5 per cent target (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2011).
The projections in Working Futures 2010-2020 indicate that many long-term employment trends will continue, including shifts towards a knowledge- and service-based economy and increases in high-paid and low-paid jobs at the expense of those in the middle (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2012b).
These changes in employment structure will contribute to an increase in poverty rates by 2020, although it is the growing gap between benefits and wages that is the main driver of increasing relative poverty rates.
Absolute poverty will rise considerably in the next few years as earnings growth is forecast to be weak but inflation high. Real median household income will remain below its 2009/10 level in 2015/16 (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2011).
Pensioner poverty is forecast to continue falling from around 15% in 2011 to around 14% in 2017. By 2025, between 8 and 11% of pensioners are expected to be in poverty but this is dependent on national pension policy (Pensions Policy Institute, 2011). However, the fall in the rate of pensioner poverty coincides with a rising pensioner population, so the number of pensioners in poverty in Stockton-on-Tees may not change significantly.
The phased introduction of Universal Credit from April 2014 is expected to benefit low-income, working age families the most. Households with one earner (either with or without children) are expected to benefit more than other household types (Family and Parenting Institute, 2012; Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2011).
7. What needs might be unmet?
Planned changes in the benefit system may affect the number of unclaimed benefits. However, there may still be many people, counted in thousands, not claiming their full benefit entitlement that could lift them out of poverty.
8. What evidence is there for effective intervention?
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
The Marmot Review (‘Fair Society, Healthy Lives’)
1. Give every child the best start in life;
Each of these policy objectives is influenced by the scale and distribution of poverty.
Additional resources for tackling poverty can be found at:
9. What do people say?
Feedback provided from a Stockton Renaisannce Partnership event in autumn 2011 highlighted the following issues:
A North East regional consultation with children on poverty issues identified the following priorities:
10. What additional needs assessment is required?
Teesside University is reviewing the extent to which anti-poverty recommendationas and initiatives are implemented locally.
Name: Kate Fulton
Job title: Business Support and Improvement Manager
Phone number: 01642 526089
Local strategies and plans
National strategies and plans
Department for Education (2012). A New Approach to Child Poverty: Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families' Lives.
HM Government (2011). Opening Doors, Breaking Barriers: A Strategy for Social Mobility.
Aldridge H, Kenway P, MacInnes T and Parekh A. (2012). Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2012.
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG, 2011). English indices of deprivation 2010.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP, 2012a). Income Related Benefits: Estimates of Take-Up.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP, 2012b). Households below average income 2010/11.
Family and Parenting Institute (2012). The impact of austerity measures on households with children.
HM Government (2010). The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults.
HM Government (2011). Early Intervention: The Next Steps.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC, 2012a). Technical information for the revised local child poverty measure.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC, 2012b). Child poverty statistics.
Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS, 2012). Inequality and poverty spreadsheet.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2011). Child and working-age poverty from 2010 to 2020.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2012). Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2012.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2012b). The impact of employment changes on poverty in 2020.
Kempson, E and Collard, S (2012). Developing a vision for financial inclusion.
Marmot Review (2010). Fair Society, Healthy Lives.
Network of Public Health Observatories (2011). Health inequality indicators for local authorities and primary care organisations.
Nomis (2012). Labour market profile, November 2012.
Pensions Policy Institute (2011). The implications of Government policy for future levels of pensioner poverty.
Tees Valley Unlimited (2012). Area profiles.
The Trussell Trust (2012). UK Foodbanks project.
Work and Pensions Committee (2009). Tackling pensioner poverty.