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Poverty in the uk

One in five people in the UK today are struggling to put food on the table and heat their homes. More than half a million people had to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families in the past year. Oxfam won't live with the injustice of poverty, whatever it looks like, wherever it exists and that includes poverty in our own backyard.

What Oxfam is doing

Oxfam tackles poverty wherever we find it, including in the UK - one of the richest countries in the world. We are using our network of high street shops to build people life chances- by supporting them to volunteer there, and gain valuable skills and confidence to enable them to take the next step in their lives. In our work on food poverty, we are working collaboratively with other organisations to establish a measure in the UK that will help us tackle the root causes more effectively. And we continue to campaign for decision makers to take action to tackle economic inequality and focus on reducing poverty. 

We consult communities, and influence policy makers and the general public to create change for people living in poverty and narrow the growing gap between the richest and the poorest. Our vision is of a fairer country where no one lives with poverty, where women and men are treated equally and everyone has the chance to influence decisions that affect their lives.

We have a long history of joining up with local community groups to create change. We use our voice to help influence decision makers, to put pressure on the UK Government - and those of Scotland and Wales - to create policy that helps those living in poverty.

Challenging extreme economic inequality

 The First Love Foundation in Tower Hamlets is opposite London's financial centre, Canary Wharf.

Inequality is a growing problem in the UK and around the globe. Income inequality has grown under successive governments over the last quarter of a century.

We work with people fighting poverty every day - closing the inequality gap from the bottom up by lifting them out of poverty.

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Improving women's access to work and fair wages

Lem Lem Kahsay, Chef at Rainbow Haven in the kitchen.

We think it's unfair that women face a double burden of poverty and discrimination. They continue to be paid less than men for the same work and often struggle to find work that fits around other responsibilities.

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Reducing the need for food banks

A woman collecting food from a food bank

Oxfam has helped to support many of the food banks which have become a lifeline for many people living below the breadline but we are determined they should not become a permanent feature of the UK.

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Oxfam brought together a group of women to discuss and develop big ideas to help women living in poverty improve their lives. The social Innovation BOOST process will be the start of a new project.

Oxfam Cymru hosted an event at The National Assembly for Wales to celebrate the success of the 'Building Livelihoods and Strengthening Communities in Wales' project. The project was delivered by nine Oxfam partners across Wales and works with individuals and communities using the sustainable livelihood approach to improve their skills and confidence and improve their lives.

HRH Prince Charles visits Duffryn Community Allotment, a project run by Duffryn Community Link (DCL), Oxfam, Growing Spaces and the National Trust, with support from the Co-operative Society. DCL is part of Oxfam's Livelihoods project, with funding from the Big Lottery Fund Wales.

Tracy was forced to visit the Tower Hamlets Foodbank as she struggled to pay for the basics due to the impact of welfare reform. She hopes her daughter does not face the same struggle. The foodbank is run by the First Love Foundation, an Oxfam partner in London.

Decent Work research: In partnership with the University of West of Scotland and with the support of Warwick Institute for Employment Research, this project consulted more than 1500 people, predominantly low paid workers, on what they think is important to make work decent.

How you can help

Other issues we work on