SHF Need

The National Picture

Each year, the Government publishes a survey of income poverty in the UK called Households Below Average income (HBAI). This survey sets the poverty line in the UK at 60 per cent of the median UK household income. In other words, if a household’s income is less than 60 per cent of this average, HBAI considers them to be living in poverty. One in five (22 per cent) households in the UK have an income below the poverty line, after their housing costs are taken into account. [Child Poverty Action Group]

In-work poverty (defined here as the proportion of workers who are in poverty)
has risen in recent years and stood at almost 13% in 2018/19. There are some
groups who are more likely to experience in-work poverty and have a harder time
escaping poverty. The sector, number of hours and hourly pay, location, someone’s
gender, ethnicity and age, and barriers such as availability of childcare and
transport all determine whether someone is in poverty, and whether they are able
to escape it through work. [Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2020/21 Poverty Report]

Lack of social housebuilding over the past decade has meant that fewer of those who
need it can access an affordable secure home in the social rented sector. Between
2010/11 and 2018/19, the number of homes built for social rent in England as a
proportion of new homes fell from 33% to 3%, with just 7% of the number of social
rents needed in a year built. In combination with house price increases, this means
many households that may have been in a more secure tenure 20 years ago are now
stuck in insecure, expensive homes in the private rented sector.

The combination of high housing costs in the private rented sector and falling
support from Housing Benefit has created a strong current pulling low-income
families into poverty. Many households are under pressure every month to
somehow pay rents far higher than they can afford, because the level of Housing
Benefit they receive falls well short. This leads to daily hardship and having to cut
back on other essentials and has contributed to homelessness. [Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2020/21 Poverty Report]

Hardship in Swindon

Although Swindon comparatively has a high employment rate, this is deceptive- There are fewer well-paid jobs in Swindon and more jobs that are generally lower paid… Statistics point to high wages inequality with some jobs paying very well, but many jobs, particularly those held by women, paying quite poorly. [Swindon Borough Council Child Poverty Rapid JSNA 2016] So in-work poverty is a real issue in Swindon.

According to the 2011 Census, Swindon also has a daily inflow of around 14,000 people for employment purposes. Average earnings by workplace are higher than the average earnings by residence in Swindon, suggesting that commuters are in more highly paid posts than Swindon residents. [Swindon Borough Council Child Poverty Rapid JSNA 2016]

In Swindon, as in England as a whole, people in the most deprived groups have a shorter life-expectancy, more emergency hospital admissions before retirement age, and more long term illness before retirement age, compared with people from more affluent areas. [Wiltshire Community Foundation’s 2014 report]

In the most deprived areas of Swindon, men die on average 8 years earlier and women 4 years earlier than those in the least deprived areas. . [Wiltshire Community Foundation’s 2014 report] In the most deprived areas of Swindon, men live on average 14.1 years less in good health and women 12.1 years less than those in the least deprived areas. . [Wiltshire Community Foundation’s 2014 report]

However, deprived people do not necessarily live in deprived areas. Pockets of serious deprivation exist within apparently wealthy communities, but are statistically invisible and therefore services and facilities are not provided for them. [Wiltshire Community Foundation’s 2014 report]

Child Poverty in Swindon

Photo of mother and child

Child poverty has shown to lead to cycles of poverty that are difficult to break, in to adult life. 21% of all children in Swindon were reported to be living in poverty [End Child Poverty Now’s 2014 report].

The worst child poverty in Wiltshire is in Swindon. 45% of children in Penhill, 45% of children in Parks and 42% of children in Walcot live in child poverty. [Wiltshire Community Foundation’s 2014 report drawn largely from 2011 census] Most of these children are from lone parent families- Swindon Borough Council Child Poverty Rapid JSNA report 2016 reported that 64% of children in lone parent families in Swindon are living in poverty. This contrasts with children living in two parent families, where the rate of poverty is 9%. This means that a child living in a lone parent family is almost seven times more likely to be living in poverty than a child who lives in a two-parent household. This is a higher ratio in Swindon than nationally where it is approximately five times as likely that a child in a lone parent family will be living in poverty.