Working lives

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Richard Hyde; Jake Shepherd

July 27, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation looks at experiences of in-work poverty in London.

This report from Social Market Foundation think-tank examines experience of in-work poverty in London Working lives calls attention to the experience of in-work poverty in London, what drives it, and the impact it has on people (and those around them). The report presents new evidence from in-depth interviews with those in work and living below the poverty line. It is a part of a wider project – being undertaken in partnership with Trust for London – to develop a new benchmark that can help businesses be part of the fight against poverty.

The report’s key insights from in-depth interviews:

  • Working people living below the poverty line suffer in their personal and professional lives, which affects those around them. Issues reported include: inadequate living standards, high work-life conflict, and poor mental & physical health.
  • Participants reported some common problems and drivers of poverty. These included low earnings, insufficient hours, high and rising living costs, and caring responsibilities.
  • All participants said that businesses could be more understanding, caring, and proactive, particularly towards employees that earn less and are in greater need of support.
  • Participants cited the need for better provisions for sick pay, flexibility, in-work progression and upskilling, sufficient hours and subsidies to cover the high cost of living in the capital.