UK poverty numbers underestimated

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THE UK and Scottish governments may be underestimating the number of families living in poverty by as much as 40 per cent, researchers have claimed.

Academics at Edinburgh University believe there is a “weakness” in the way central and devolved governments record poverty levels. Morag Treanor, of the university’s Centre for Research of Families and Relationships, said ministers at Holyrood and Westminster have failed to “effectively define” deprivation and that they measure deprivation in a “completely arbitrary way”.

In the report backed by the 
Economic and Social Research Council, she said: “If the weakness of the current threshold is not addressed, then the UK government and devolved administrations will be left scratching their heads at the inevitable failure of their efforts to reduce child poverty.”