Material deprivation* refers to the inability to afford basic resources and services such as sufficient food and heating. To put it more simply, all of those who suffer material deprivation in the UK exist in a state of relative poverty, and some may exist in a state of absolute poverty.
The government’s material deprivation rate measures the proportion of the population that cannot afford at least four of the following items:
- To pay their rent, mortgage, utility bills or loan repayments,
- To keep their home adequately warm,
- To face unexpected financial expenses,
- To eat meat or protein regularly,
- To go on holiday for a week once a year,
- A television set,
- A washing machine,
- A car,
- A telephone.
As can be seen from the statistics below, the number of people suffering from ‘severe’ material deprivation has remained stable in recent years, but the numbers of people struggling to pay for holidays and meet emergency expenses has increased.
*A fuller definition of material deprivation is provided by the The OECD which defines Material deprivation as ‘the inability for individuals or households to afford those consumption goods and activities that are typical in a society at a given point in time, irrespective of people’s preferences with respect to these items.’ It’s work noting at this point that this is a relative rather than an absolute measurement of poverty.