THE Joseph Rowntree Foundation says an additional 700,000 UK children and pensioners have fallen into relative poverty over the past four years.

According to the report, since 2013 an extra 300,000 pensioners and 400,000 children are now living in poverty and the “prospects for solving” the problem “currently look worrying”.

Despite the government protecting the value of the basic state pension since 2010, Pension Credit, a benefit paid to the poorest pensioners, has not kept pace with rising costs. Child poverty has also been driven by stagnant wages for low income families and a freeze on benefits and changes to tax credits, which many rely on.

New threats to the poorest households include rising housing costs, higher food and energy bills, debts and not being able to contribute to a pension. It is a real struggle for thousands every day to make ends meets, and that number is rising.

Ending the benefits freeze is the single biggest change the government could do to help. They must do this, and do it now, before we push thousands more people into the misery of poverty.

Alex Orr