Fourteen million Britons are living in poverty as families and the elderly are hit by rising food and energy bills, a charity has warned.
Startling figures show almost 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners are living in impoverished conditions than four years ago.
In total four million children and 1.9 million elderly people were said to have faced severe austerity due to rising household costs, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said.
Figures show almost 400,000 more children and 300,000 more pensioners are living in impoverished conditions than four years ago (Teenage boys in a deprived community of Glasgow)
According to the charity, higher food and energy bills, debts and not being able to contribute to a pension, are among the factors hitting Britain’s vulnerable residents.
The Government was urged to end the four-year freeze on working age benefits and tax credits and to invest in a more ambitious housebuilding programme to provide genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said: ‘These worrying figures suggest that we are at a turning point in our fight against poverty.
‘Political choices, wage stagnation and economic uncertainty mean that hundreds of thousands more people are now struggling to make ends meet. This is a very real warning sign that our hard-fought progress is in peril.
‘Action to tackle child and pensioner poverty has provided millions of families with better living standards and financial security.
‘Record employment is not leading to lower poverty, changes to benefits and tax credits are reducing incomes and crippling costs are squeezing budgets to breaking point.
‘The Budget offered little to ease the strain and put low income households’ finances on a firmer footing.
‘As we prepare to leave the EU, we have to make sure that our country and our economy works for everyone and doesn’t leave even more people behind.’