The interim report for I-SPHERE research into destitution in the UK has been published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The report reviews the literature and provides a definition of destitution. The definition was developed with experts from across the UK and a survey of 2000 members of the public:
“People are destitute if they lacked two or more of these six essentials over the past month, because they cannot afford them:
- Shelter (have slept rough for one or more nights)
- Food (have had fewer than two meals a day for two or more days)
- Heating their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days)
- Lighting their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days)
- Clothing and footwear (appropriate for weather)
- Basic toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush)
People are also destitute if their income is so low that they are unable to purchase these essentials for themselves.”
A large majority of the public agree that being in this situation constitutes destitution.
Over the next few months the research team will carry out a representative census survey in 10 locations across the UK, alongside analysis of secondary data sets (large scale surveys and administrative data from government and charities). There will also be qualitative interviews with people experiencing destitution. The final report will be published towards the end of this year.
This programme aims to provide solid evidence about the extent, nature and causes of destitution across the UK.