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House of Commons Hansard
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29 March 2010
Volume 508
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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of (a) the general population, (b) children and (c) pensioners in Leeds North West constituency were living in poverty in each year since 1997. [322704]

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The Government strongly believe that the best way to tackle poverty is through work. Those in work in the long term are better off than on benefits as training, promotion and career opportunities can enable many workers to attain a better standard of living for themselves and their families. We are therefore placing an increased priority on helping all groups of people, including disabled people and those with health conditions, lone parents and long-term unemployed people get into rewarding and sustainable jobs.

The Government’s declared aim are to eradicate child poverty by 2020. Our determination to do so is as firm as ever and this is demonstrated by introducing the Child Poverty Bill. The Child Poverty Bill will bring new impetus to eradicating child poverty by 2020. It will provide a definition of success and sets a framework to guarantee that Government and their partners at national and local levels make a clear and vital contribution towards ending child poverty.

Between 1998-99 and 2007-08 some 500,000 children were lifted out of relative poverty. Measures announced in and since Budget 2007 are expected to lift around a further 550,000 children out of poverty. Absolute poverty has been halved.

Addressing pensioner poverty has been a priority for this Government. We have targeted help on the poorest pensioners, those who need it most, while providing a solid foundation of support for all.

With the help of targeted support and additional funding there were 900,000 fewer pensioners living in relative poverty (after housing costs) in 2007-08 than in 1998-99.

Estimates of poverty, published in the Households Below Average Income series, only allow a breakdown of the overall number of people in poverty at Government office region level. Therefore, information for Leeds North East is not available, though figures relating to the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region are.

Poverty for all individuals is presented both before and after housing costs. Child poverty is presented before housing costs and pensioner poverty is presented after housing costs, in line with the relevant public service agreements. The most commonly used figures relate to those with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income for the three groups.

Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility. Figures are quoted rounded to the nearest percentage point. The percentage of all individuals, children and pensioners in the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region who have incomes below 60 per cent. of the contemporary median income is in the following tables.

Proportion of individuals in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median for the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region, before and after housing costs

Proportion of individuals (Percentage)

Period

Before housing costs

After housing costs

1997-98 to 1999-2000

24

27

1998-99 to 2000-01

23

26

1999-2000 to 2001-02

22

25

2000-01 to 2002-03

21

24

2001-02 to 2003-04

20

24

2002-03 to 2004-05

19

22

2003-04 to 2005-06

19

22

2004-05 to 2006-07

19

21

2005-06 to 2007-08

20

22

Proportion of children in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median for the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region, before housing costs

Period

Proportion of children (Percentage)

1997-98 to 1999-2000

32

1998-99 to 2000-01

30

1999-2000 to 2001-02

29

2000-01 to 2002-03

27

2001-02 to 2003-04

26

2002-03 to 2004-05

25

2003-04 to 2005-06

25

2004-05 to 2006-07

25

2005-06 to 2007-08

26

Proportion of pensioners in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary median for the Yorkshire and Humberside Government office region, after housing costs

Period

Proportion of pensioners (Percentage)

1997-98 to 1999-2000

32

1998-99 to 2000-01

31

1999-2000 to 2001-02

29

2000-01 to 2002-03

26

2001-02 to 2003-04

24

2002-03 to 2004-05

20

2003-04 to 2005-06

17

2004-05 to 2006-07

17

2005-06 to 2007-08

18

Notes:

1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income data.

2. Small changes should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures is single financial years. Three sample years have been combined as regional single year estimates are subject to volatility.

4. 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” series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

5. The figures are based on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development equivalisation factors.

6. Figures have been presented on both a before housing cost and after housing cost basis. For before housing cost, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income, while for after housing cost they are.

7. Proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.

A local child poverty indicator—including constituency level information—has been developed that captures the number and proportion of children in families in receipt of out of work benefits, or in receipt of tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent. of median income. Details can be found via the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/child_poverty.htm

The measure enables local partners to make an assessment of the level and geographical distribution of income deprivation in their area and focuses local partners on taking action to help raise family incomes.