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“It’s absurd that standing charges are such a large part of bill. The whole way that energy is purchased and passed to customers is absurd” – Lived Experience focus group participant, April 2023.

Since 2021 standing charges for domestic electricity customers have increased significantly. For people who pay for their electricity bills by direct debit, they have more than doubled from £86 to £186 per annum on average between 2021 and 2023. 

In this consultation, Ofgem has asked for input in response to concerns about the high level of standing charges. 

We would like to see standing charges reduced and the fixed costs of the energy system recovered in a more progressive way. However, we recognise that some low-income groups would be adversely affected by such a change if not accompanied by other measures.  

In addition to this, we want Ofgem to look at addressing standing charges that accrue when people on low incomes go off supply to save money.  

Our full consultation response notes in further detail our policy asks.  

This Migration Observatory briefing examines the UK’s ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) condition, which applies to people on temporary immigration statuses, and prevents access – in most cases – to state-funded welfare. It examines the likely number of migrants that have the NRPF condition attached to their immigration status and their characteristics, including how many are at risk of destitution.

Key points:

  • At the end of 2022, about 2.6 million people held visas that typically have NRPF, substantially up from previous years.
  • At the end of 2022, the top nationalities in visa categories with NRPF were India (665,000), China (316,000), Nigeria (268,000), Pakistan (147,000) and Hong Kong (121,000).
  • EU citizens who moved to the UK after 31 December 2020 under the new immigration system (84,000 at the end of 2022) have NRPF attached to their status.
  • All residents with irregular immigration statuses are subject to the NRPF condition. There are no official statistics about the size of this group, which is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Among recently arrived migrants – the group most likely to have NRPF – just under 100,000 live in economically vulnerable households (where all working-age adults are inactive, unemployed, or in low or low-medium skilled jobs) with dependent children.
  • Recently arrived migrants from Bangladesh (27%), Pakistan (21%), and Iran (18%) have the highest likelihood of living in a deprived household.
  • An estimated 10% of non-EU citizens with less than five years of residence receive public benefits (which is allowed e.g. if they are a refugee or are in a family with a UK citizen or person with recourse to public funds), compared to 25% of UK nationals.
  • There were 2,500 successful applications to lift the NRPF condition per year in 2021 and 2022, which is comparable to pre-Covid years.

Find out more about NRPF and download the briefing.

Fair By Design has written to the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, urging him to introduce a ‘Help to Repay’ scheme to provide repayment matching and debt relief for people with unaffordable energy arrears.

The letter features new research from National Debtline showing one in four people in energy debt (24%) are unable to repay. A fifth (21%) of people in energy arrears have also been threatened with enforcement action by their supplier.  

The ‘Help to Repay’ campaign calls for targeted support for people who have faced difficulty paying energy bills and have fallen into payment arrears during the energy crisis. The letter to the Chancellor comes as energy debt hit its highest-ever level of £2.6 billion, according to the energy regulator Ofgem. 

Martin Coppack, Director, Fair By Design, said:  

“It is very saddening to see that one in four people in energy debt are unable to repay it. It is clear we need to introduce a ‘Help to Repay’ scheme to support people, so they don’t fall into further problem debt or get disconnected altogether leaving them with no heating this winter. 

“The Government must help people with their energy bills today and in the future. It must introduce a Help to Repay scheme to support people today, and also progress longer-term support in the form of a social tariff.”  

Read the full letter to the Chancellor and Press Release 

Carl Packman, Head of Corporate Engagement for Fair by Design’s poverty premium movement, looks at the scale of financial inclusion collated and analysed by the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management’s (CHASM’s) annual briefing paper

Theresa May in 2016 made a very powerful speech demonstrating her willingness to fight against what she called “burning injustices”. She noted that “if you’re born poor, you will die on average nine years earlier than others […] If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.”

To her party’s conference that year she also said:

“Where companies are exploiting the failures of the market in which they operate, where consumer choice is inhibited by deliberately complex pricing structures, we must set the market right.”

Recognising the plight of poverty, and the extra costs associated with it, is something that unites the political spectrum. The Fair by Design initiative recognises it’s not easy to solve, but it is focusing on solutions not just words.

Poverty is increasing

The Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM)’s 2018 Financial Inclusion Monitoring Briefing Paper, demonstrates the scale of the problem.  It starts by celebrating some positive recent developments including falling unemployment and increased wages for full time employees. However, poverty is increasing, both in and out of work, “with those out of work particularly affected by benefit cuts and delays”.

The report shows that poverty has increased since 2010. In 2016/17, 30 per cent of all children and 16 per cent of all pensioners were living in poverty, while 1.5 million people, including 365,000 children, were destitute at some point during 2017.

Poverty is expensive in the UK. As the concept of the poverty premium illustrates, there are extra costs of being in poverty. The cost of credit, for example, becomes higher if you are obliged to visit an alternative provider like a payday lender for borrowing money. The cost of energy is higher if you are stuck on a costlier tariff, and the costs of insurance increase if you live in a particular area.

Figures in CHASM’s report bear out some of those extra costs. For example in 2014–16, nearly half (47 per cent) of the population had some form of unsecured lending, which can include payday loans and other forms of high cost lending, but is most often credit cards.

In addition to high cost credit from the alternative credit sector (e.g. payday lenders, the rent-to-own sector like Brighthouse), the costs of unarranged overdrafts has been particularly hard for consumers:  whilst one million people took out payday loans in 2017 at least 10 million used an unarranged overdraft.

The report finds that those on the lowest incomes are much more likely to be in arrears on utility bills and credit commitments: 16 per cent of those on the lowest incomes (lowest 10 per cent of incomes) were in arrears in 2012/14 compared with only one per cent of those with the highest incomes (highest 10 per cent of incomes).

One issue for those experiencing the extra costs of being poor is not just how much they spend, but the costs of essential products and services becoming totally unaffordable. From the report we see that only six in ten working-age adults had home contents insurance in 2016–17, and we also know that 60% of those earning £15,000 or less per annum have no contents cover. Of those who did not have it, nearly a third said they could not afford it.

Fair by Design’s plans to eradicate the poverty premium             

In Fair by Design’s recent roadmap, charting how we will get rid of all the extra costs of poverty, we set out plans to get rid of the poverty premium. We call on businesses, including all consumer credit providers, to eradicate the poverty premium from all of their products and services to ensure low income customers aren’t paying more for essentials. Fair by Design want the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to broaden its regulation of all forms of high cost credit including caps on those not currently covered: overdrafts, rent-to-own, home-collected credit, catalogue credit, and store cards.

Fair by Design want landlords to ensure every new housing tenant is automatically placed on the cheapest energy tariff, to stop them from paying over the odds on their fuel bills, particularly those unaware of the fuel provider choices which exist, and we want employers to support employees on wage advances to help them to avoid turning to high cost credit lenders.

Find out more about the Fair by Design movement on our website and follow its activities on twitter.


A new report by the Smith Institute, looks at how suburbs are falling behind urban centres. The report, ‘Towards a suburban renaissance: an agenda for our city suburbs’ examines trends in suburban London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands Urban Area. It finds that:

Poverty has become more concentrated in many suburban areas. In London, official data shows that there are now more people in poverty in outer London than inner London (over the last decade, poverty has risen from 20% to 24% of the suburban population).

  • The proportion of the most deprived areas within the three city regions increased most rapidly in suburban areas – in the West Midlands up from 42% to 57%. There were also marked increases in suburbs in the levels of people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Pension Credit.
  • The number of jobs in suburbs has stagnated over the last decade. Inner London, for example, created 500,000 jobs between 2003 and 2013. In outer London it was just 8,000.
  • Jobs performed by suburban residents increased at a slower rate than in urban areas. In Manchester, suburban resident job numbers increased by 6%, compared with a 47% rise in urban areas.
  • House prices over the last 20 years have increased more rapidly in urban areas. In the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, the most affordable places to live have increasingly become suburban areas (e.g. in 1995, 70% of the cheapest 10% of areas in the West Midlands urban area were suburban; by 2014 that figure had risen to almost 90%).

Read the full report

Equalities charity brap published recently their ‘Making the Cut’ report about the challenges facing Birmingham community groups over an 18-month period.  Here, brap’s CEO, Joy Warmington, examines the findings and asks what the next step might be in addressing the difficulties and finding solutions.


The work of community organisations has always been underpinned by three key values. The first, and most obvious, is self-help: providing services when the state can’t or won’t, or when self-help is actually more effective or appropriate. Second is self-organisation. Community groups are often at their best when they’re movements for change in society, transforming attitudes about everything from homosexuality to disability to mental health. And finally, there’s independence: working strategically with local and national government to make life better by closing gaps in services and loopholes in the law.


That’s the history: what about today? In the current climate, community groups are facing unprecedented budgetary pressures. Making the Cut asked what impact is this having on frontline services and the people using them?


To get a better idea brap has been regularly speaking to community organisations in Birmingham for over a year. These organisations work with some of the most vulnerable in the city and cover a range of sectors, including housing, domestic violence, and youth employment.


What we’ve found is that cuts to spending and changes to public service design are forcing individuals to go to community organisations for the support they need. Whether it’s welfare changes, the closure of local housing advice offices, reductions in youth services, or countless other things, people are increasingly turning to local voluntary sector organisations for help and advice. Between November 2014 and July 2015, for example, 77% of community groups said they had faced a ‘significant’ increase in demand for their service.


But that’s not all: over the same period, 88% of project participants had to make changes to their work because of cuts to funding. For most this meant changes to admin and management support. A lot of organisations have also said there is less funding for overheads and the ‘softer’ activities that help create a fuller, more holistic support service.  At the same time funding has become more short-term, making it harder for organisations to invest in their sustainability and to plan long-term interventions. A youth service, for example, might find itself in the unhelpful position of spending a few weeks working with a troubled young person only to have them referred back to the organisation some months later. Having more time with the individual in the first place might have allowed the agency to really get to grips with the problems they faced, giving the young person the confidence and resilience to solve their problems independently.


What is more, community groups are finding it harder to lobby local and national government about the concerns they have. This is partly because with fewer resources and increased demand, most voluntary organisations just don’t have the time to challenge this cycle of diminishing returns. For most the time available to analyse policy, engage with decision-makers, and draw out the strategic implications of new policy, practice, or legislation on their day-to-day work has been massively reduced.


Additionally, the constraints on speaking out are also partly because contractual relationships can make it harder for community groups to say what they need to. Increasingly, commissioning contracts – not just locally but nationally too – are stipulating that organisations can’t speak out about the impact of funding cuts. And many organisations don’t want to risk the relationship they’ve built up with their commissioner because funding is so tight. The customer is always right.


Since the report was published a number of local councillors and council officials have expressed concern about its findings. As communities see the impact of funding cuts really start to hit vulnerable people, most decision makers have said they are keen to deepen their links with the voluntary sector (and, in fact, some community organisations have recently told us they’ve noticed a move toward greater partnership working). Some respondents have since promised to press for formal mechanisms with which the sector can talk to and engage new governing bodies (such as the West Midlands Combined Authority). Others have offered to explore how the contents of contracts between the council and community groups are communicated, as, they claim, the intention has never been to stifle the voice of the sector.


This is a crucial exercise.  For  we ignore the work, expertise, local intelligence, and advice of voluntary organisations at our peril. Many have a unique insight into the cumulative impact of welfare reforms and public service changes. There is a role for public authorities now, more than ever, to engage community organisations in discussion about how to ensure vulnerable and excluded groups aren’t being left behind. And there’s a role for us, too, as a society to think carefully about what kind of voluntary sector we want to see. Because at the moment there’s a danger we’ll lose the side of it that campaigns, and agitates, and demands. We can’t just be content for community groups to fulfil the first of the values we outlined at the start. Historically, community groups have built hospices, sheltered refugees, and made public transport accessible for the disabled. If we forget this role, we are forgetting its potential. We are forgetting its vitally important role of holding up a mirror to society and speaking truth to power.


Our new work supported by Barrow Cadbury Trust will feed into the ‘Making the Cut’ project by creating a series of voluntary sector “conversations” around social cohesion and inclusion in Birmingham.  Watch this space.


For more information about the Making the Cut project go to


Fawcett Society’s Ava Lee blogs about how vulnerable women are disproportionately affected by recent benefit changes and what can be done about it  


“I don’t want to go to the Job Centre anymore. I’ve got bad blood pressure, and I don’t want to accept this pressure from them. These people are pushing you, pushing you, and in the end I feel like I am in dessert. There is no job, and I can’t take it….”
Nadya, a single mother from Sheffield.


Recently the Fawcett Society launched our new report: Where’s the Benefit? An Independent Inquiry into Women and Jobseeker’s Allowance.   The report was a culmination of months of work examining how changes made to the benefits system specifically Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), have impacted on women. The results were very concerning.   We found that the benefits system concerned with job seeking is making some groups of vulnerable women even more likely to experience poverty, ill-health, exploitation and abuse. Lone parents, women who suffer violence at home and women who have difficulties with English are being particularly hard hit.   We also found evidence of failings in both the design and the implementation of the JSA system. For example, although special arrangements should be made to protect claimants who are experiencing violence from a partner, claimants are not routinely told that this is possible. Lone parents, nine out of ten of whom are women, are often expected to look for full time work involving up to three hours travel every day even when this makes it impossible for them to also look after their children.


“Barbara called the Helpline in distress…the Work Programme Adviser gave her an appointment at 9.30am [but] she needed to travel on 2 buses [to take] her daughter to school. The Adviser told her to get her child into after school care even though the local service is full and also said it was alright to leave her for a couple of hours on her own.”
Submission from One Parent Families Scotland.


Some women are being expected to meet near impossible conditions in order to receive a basic benefit. When those conditions aren’t met these women are sanctioned, often losing all of their benefits – sometimes repeatedly – as the result of a system that doesn’t take account of the specific circumstances of many women’s lives.


“I think we’re a much easier target to be sanctioned, because, as women, we are less likely to kick off and be violent, much, much less likely, and I think that’s what makes us easier targets. And 99% of the time we’ve got children hanging off us so we haven’t got time to be arguing with these people, so you are having to take it and think, I’ll deal with that later, or I’ll deal with that tomorrow.”
Focus group participant.


We examined a vast amount of evidence including research that other people had written, undertook focus groups up and down the country, one to one interviews and had a day of evidence where we heard from women affected by the changes as well as NGOs, academics and expert practitioners who told us just what was happening.   An expert panel reviewed all the evidence before making recommendations, including Amanda Ariss – the CEO of the Equality and Diversity Forum who was the chair, Carlene Firmin MBE –  Head of the MsUnderstood Partnership and Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire, Baroness Meacher, Sir Keir Starmer QC and journalist Rosamund Urwin. The panel reviewed the evidence and attended the live hearing making recommendations for the final report.


The Inquiry made 12 recommendations including:


  • Specialist advisers should be available to support claimants such as lone parents, women experiencing domestic and sexual violence and women with difficulties speaking and understanding English. These advisers could ensure that the policies already in place to protect vulnerable women are followed in practice.


  • The conditions demanded of claimants should take account of the impact of caring responsibilities, language barriers and the impact of domestic and sexual violence.


  • Claimants should be told about policies which are there for lone parents and people experiencing domestic or sexual violence.


  • All claimants should receive a thorough diagnostic interview after three months of claiming JSA, to ensure they are receiving the support they need to move into sustainable, quality employment and are not being required to take up activities, at a cost to the public purse, that make little or no contribution to their job search.


Inquiry Chair Amanda Ariss said: “It is deeply worrying that a benefit that exists to support us all if we find ourselves out of work is putting vulnerable groups of women and their children at risk of unnecessary financial hardship, mental and physical ill-health and, in extreme cases, exploitation and abuse. This makes no sense.   These women are not being provided with the support they need to move into work, which would benefit the women themselves, their families and the wider economy. Instead they are forced to meet conditions that are sometimes close to impossible, with the constant threat of sanctions should they slip up.   It doesn’t have to be this way. With some modest changes to the design and implementation of JSA we could have a system that supports women to move into quality, sustainable work.”

Work is failing to provide the majority of working single parent families with the income they need, with two thirds (67 per cent) saying finances are a constant struggle at best and one in ten saying they are not coping financially [1], a new report from Gingerbread has found. More than 2,000 single parents shared their experiences in an online survey and 23 took part in one to one interviews with the charity for the report, Paying the Price: The long road to recovery.


Gingerbread’s research finds little evidence of an economic upturn in the lives of single parents in work or those desperately trying to break into a tough jobs market.  Single parents describe their battle to overcome the strains of low-paid work – with new findings showing they are almost twice as likely to be in low-paid jobs as other workers (39 per cent of working single parents compared with 21 per cent of working people nationally [2]).


Single parents are also facing marked job insecurity and unpredictable incomes: one in five (19 per cent) working single parent respondents had seen their income fall and one in four (26 per cent) non-working single parents left their last paid job after redundancy, having their wage or hours cut or their temporary contract ending [3].


The findings are backed up by troubling poverty figures published earlier this month, which showed child poverty in families where single parents work full-time has risen from 17 per cent to 22 per cent from 2011-12 to 2012-13 [4].  Single parents taking part in Gingerbread’s research reported taking on extra hours at work, working multiple jobs and having to take a gamble on temporary or zero-hours contracts as they attempt to mitigate wage cuts and the rising costs of family essentials.

  • One in six (16 per cent) of working single parents surveyed were juggling more than one job 
  • A quarter (26 per cent) of working single parents surveyed had increased their working hours in the last two years due to    financial necessity.


Even with these increases, 23 per cent of working single parents would still like to work more hours.  Twelve per cent of working single parents said they had experienced a temporary or fixed term contract for the first time in the past two years; 6 per cent said they had experienced a ‘zero-hours’ contract for the first time in the same period [5].


Single parent of one Alison Fulcher, 43, from Essex works two jobs to provide for herself and her daughter:   “I work 33 hours a week doing two jobs: a housekeeper and a cleaner. For one of my jobs, while I really like the company I work for, I’m earning just above the minimum wage. Trying to bridge the gap between my earnings and the rent and our increased council tax bill is difficult. I absolutely want to contribute and pay my taxes, but on a low income, it’s not easy.


“Last summer I had to sell my car, I just couldn’t manage the running costs. I really miss it and being without it means I have to use the local supermarkets, which are more expensive. I’ve worked really hard to keep up with rising costs, but it’s a struggle.”


Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir said: “Single parents are working incredibly hard to provide for their families, but all too often they are barely keeping up with the costs of the essentials for their families. There is little sign of an economic recovery for parents who have had to go without another meal and face the nagging, gnawing worry of bills marked ‘final warning’.


“Our report shows that for single parent families, work isn’t a golden ticket out of poverty, low-paid jobs aren’t a rite of passage and a recovering job market is still leaving many behind.”


Single parents trying to find work reported overwhelming pressure from the job centre in a job market where they felt disadvantaged, with few part-time or flexible jobs on offer for parents needing to juggle childcare with work. More than half (56 per cent) of non-working single parents said that inflexible working hours stopped them from applying jobs all or most of the time [6].


Gingerbread chief executive Fiona Weir added: “Single parents are the sole earners for their family, so it’s absolutely vital that, when they go out to work, their job pays a decent wage and offers them stability.


“Without action from government and employers on in-work financial support, low-pay and job security, too many single parent families will remain trapped in poverty and left out of the recovery.”


The report from Gingerbread is the second in its three-year research project on the impact of austerity on single parent families. A summary of the report is available here.  Both reports are available at


Read the blog by Gingerbread’s Research Officer, Sumi Rabindrakumar

Sumi Rabindrakumar, Gingerbread’s research officer, says that the upturn in employment may be good news for some, but few single parents are reaping the benefits


Work, for single parents, isn’t easy at the best of times. As both the main carer and main earner supporting their family, it can be tough to find a job that allows single parents to juggle childcare as well as pay the bills. But new research from Gingerbread shows that single parents are now also battling low pay, insufficient hours and job insecurity in today’s job market. The end result is that work is failing to provide the majority of working single parent families with the income they need.


No pay, no gain


Our latest report, The long road to recovery, reveals the gulf between a recovering economy and the real-life experiences of working single parents. Around two in five working single parents surveyed are low-paid.  A quarter had experienced a wage cut in the last six months alone.  And 30 per cent had experienced unpaid overtime in the last two years, for the first time.


“I am earning less per hour than I was four years ago”


Pay aside, many single parents simply can’t find the working hours they want and need – the proportion of single parents working part-time when they want full-time hours has doubled since 2007. Over half of non-working single parents surveyed said inflexible hours stopped them from applying for jobs all or most of the time.


And now single parents must deal with the job insecurity that has emerged since the recession. Around a quarter of non-working single parents said they’d left their last job due to hours or wage cuts, a temporary job ending or redundancy. And once out of work, the support provided is often focused on job search targets, rather than meaningful support to help single parents back into sustainable employment.


“I found myself just applying for jobs…that I’d already been rejected for, just to meet the quota they had set me”


Single parents are doing all they can to keep their heads above water, with many working multiple jobs and long hours to cover their bills. But, in the face of a long-term fall in wages, rising living costs and recent welfare cuts, it can feel like a losing battle. And no wonder, when single parents now need to earn more than twice as much as they did in 2008 to meet a basic standard of living.


A call for action


It’s clear that work is no golden ticket out of poverty. We cannot dismiss the problem of low-paid and insecure jobs as a rite of passage, just the first step on a long-term career path. As the Resolution Foundation found, people are too often trapped in jobs that offer little pay and no progression.   Single parents have been disproportionately hit by welfare cuts and there may be more on the horizon. As the safety net is pulled away, we need action now to ensure single parents can support their families.   Gingerbread wants to see the government improve support for single parents getting back to work, moving away from the ‘work-first’ approach that pushes single parents to take any job. We need stronger in-work financial support to soften financial barriers to work. And the government must work with employers to promote flexible working and tackle low pay and job insecurity.   The government wants to ensure the economy grows and to reduce welfare spending – when getting just 5 per cent more single parents into the workforce could save over £400m, why not make them part of the solution rather than risk isolating them further?


“I work 24-hour shifts and longer very often…I’m missing all the little important parts of my little girl growing up and it breaks my heart!  All this and I still fail to make ends meet…my cupboards are bare”


Sumi Rabindrakumar is Gingerbread’s Research Officer. Paying the Price is a research project being carried out by Gingerbread, with funding from Barrow Cadbury Trust and Trust for London.  The Long Road to Recovery is the second report from the project; you can read the report at

Paul Hunter, Head of Research at the Smith Institute,  discusses the changing face of suburbia and the findings of a new report ‘Poverty in Suburbia’

From Abigail’s Party to Keeping Up Appearances, suburbia has long been synonymous with relative comfort and cheery affluence. Yet the stereotype of suburbs as places inhabited solely by the upwardly mobile middle classes belies the number of those in poverty who live on the edges of our cities and towns. Indeed, as our new report, Poverty in Suburbia, demonstrates, an increasing number of people  in suburbs are now living in poverty.  There are approximately 6.8 million people in poverty in the suburbs of England and Wales – or put another way – 57% of those in poverty live in the suburbs.


To date tracking poverty in suburbs has not taken place. There have been occasional interventions, such as Boris Johnson arguing that welfare reform would result in a social cleansing of inner London and a flight to the suburbs, as well as growing interest in the issue from the US – but there have been few studies in the UK. Indeed, there are no official statistics on suburbia.


To help fill this information gap we used a range of indicators to map poverty and evaluate which ‘at risk’ groups are most common in suburbs. We looked in detail at incidences of poverty in eight major cities and found that there are significant socio-economic trends in the suburbs which have been largely ignored and which may worsen with continued budget cuts and pressure/reductions in services. For example, of those at risk of poverty there were higher concentrations of lone parents, part-time workers, people with a disability, and pension credit recipients in the suburbs than the rest of the country.


What is more many of the risk factors appear to be increasing in suburbs and the number of suburban neighbourhoods with above average levels of poverty has risen by 33% over the last decade. In addition, more people per head are on benefits (pension credit, job seeker’s allowance, income support and disability living allowance) in the suburbs than the rest of the country. And the claimant rates have increased more per head (or decreased less) in the suburbs since the recession.


These findings suggest the need for a greater focus on the suburbs by government (both local and central), policy makers and anti-poverty campaigners. This is even more of an imperative given that higher housing costs and a lack of affordable housing in inner cities is thought to be forcing poorer tenants out to the suburbs. This phenomena, combined with predicted rises in child poverty rates, could mean that poverty becomes even more prevalent in suburbia.


Poverty in suburbia has been ignored for too long. With a majority of people in poverty living in suburbs there needs to be a much better understanding of the issue. Many suburban areas have been badly affected by reductions in local authority and central government spending.


Suburbs may not be looked upon with great affection by some, yet they remain places where people want to live.  It is important to ensure that what attracted people to suburbia in the first place is not eroded.  This is not to say suburbs should be only for the relatively wealthy, but rather that particular suburbs most in need of support should not be overlooked.  This requires not only renewal and investment in the built environment but also greater understanding of the resilience of their local economies and social infrastructure.  We need to reimagine how we view suburbia and rethink how we support poorer suburbs.  Failure to do so risks overlooking the majority of people in poverty.