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Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people in (a) Cornwall, (b) the south-west and (c) England who live below the poverty level. (186625)

Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in ‘Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06’. The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.

Available information is shown in the following table. Information below the level of Government office region is not available.

Number and proportion of individuals in the south-west and England living in households with below 60 per cent. of median income based on three year averages, 2003-04 to 2005-06

Geographical area

Number of individuals, before housing costs (million)

Proportion of individuals (percentage)

Number of individuals, after housing costs (million)

Proportion of individuals (percentage)












1. Three survey year averages are given for the south-west and England, as robust single year estimates cannot be produced because of the sample sizes for individual regions.

2. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication ‘Households Below Average Income’ (HBAI) series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

3. The figures are based on OECD equalisation factors.

4. Tables show numbers in millions rounded to the nearest 100,000.