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Impact of poverty costs the UK £78bn a year, says report

Categories: Articles:Social Justice | Published: 01/08/2016 | Views: 1126
Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimates that dealing with the effects of deprivation costs £1,200 for each person in Britain
Dealing with the effects of poverty costs the public purse £78bn a year, or £1,200 for every person in the UK, according to the first wide-ranging report into the impact of deprivation on Britain’s finances. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimates that the impact and cost of poverty accounts for £1 in every £5 spent on public services. (Katie Allen The Guardian) 

The biggest chunk of the £78bn figure comes from treating health conditions associated with poverty, which amounts to £29bn, while the costs for schools and police are also significant. A further £9bn is linked to the cost of benefits and lost tax revenues.

The research, carried out for JRF by Heriot-Watt and Loughborough universities, is designed to highlight the economic case, on top of the social arguments, for tackling poverty in the UK. The prime minister, Theresa May, has made cutting inequality a central pledge.

Julia Unwin, the chief executive of the foundation, said: “It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, so many people in our country are being held back by poverty. But poverty doesn’t just hold individuals back, it holds back our economy too.

“Taking real action to tackle the causes of poverty would bring down the huge £78bn yearly cost of dealing with its effects, and mean more money to create better public services and support the economy. UK poverty is a problem that can be solved if government, businesses, employers and individuals work together.”      
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