Destitution in the UK 2023

24 October 2023: Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Destitution in the UK 2023 report

This study, the fourth in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals approximately 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022, including around one million children. This is
almost two-and-a-half times the number of people in 2017, and nearly triple the number of children. There is an urgent need for action to tackle destitution in the UK.

There has been a shameful increase in the level of destitution in the UK, with a growing number of people struggling to afford to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. This has deep and profound impacts on health, mental health and people’s prospects; it also puts strain on already overstretched services.

Nearly three-quarters of people experiencing destitution are in receipt of social security payments, further evidence of benefit inadequacy. Ad-hoc support from the Government, first during the pandemic and now to help with the cost of living, has not halted the rising level of destitution. We urgently need a bold and ambitious programme of action to address destitution and its corrosive impacts.

Recommendations include:

Enable everyone in our communities to access help in an emergency whether they have ‘no recourse to public funds’ or not – and resource local authorities to meet this additional need. Local authorities, charities, independent funders and housing providers should also work together to prevent destitution and homelessness for people with restricted entitlement.

Download and read the report here: