Half of all people living in poverty in Britain ‘ estimated to be 25% of the adult population ‘ are home-owners who receive little help from the Government, according to a new survey by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
As owner-occupation has gro- wn during the past 20 years, the proportion of adults defined as ‘poor’ who either own their properties outright or have a mortgage has also risen but has stabilised in the last four to five years, according to report author Roger Burrows.
However strong regional disparity has started to emerge. In the North, South, London and Scotland, similar or higher proportions of poor people live in the rented sector than are home-owners, yet in the Midlands and Wales, higher proportions of poor people live in their own homes than rent them.
‘There is huge variability regionally in terms of home owners living in poverty,’ said Burrows. ‘In the North West and Wales it is well over half. In terms of housing policy, what might be appropriate in London would not be appropriate in Wales for example,’ he added.
The report: Poverty and home ownership in contemporary Britain, also found low income home owners were more likely to live in poverty if they were young; manual workers, lone parents, or from a black or minority ethnic group. Yet poor home-owners receive only 8% of the state support for housing costs.
He said lenders and the Government need to recognise that there is a core of vulnerable home owners who do not have Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI) who are likely to be the ones who suffer if the market turns. ‘It is about the Government and the financial services sector getting together to make sure that they have a safety net. MPPI is another element of the jigsaw.’