About the Leeds Poverty Fact Book

The Leeds Poverty Fact Book was developed to be a useful document to share widely across the council and with partners in order to understand the levels of poverty in Leeds; inform policies and assist in the City’s anti-poverty agenda.

 This resource contains national and locally sourced data and information to help define and analyse the different themes of poverty. Most of the data discussed is at the Leeds district level. Some data is only available at a national level, where this is the case; an estimate for Leeds has been calculated using nationally informed assumptions against the Leeds population figure.

The Poverty Fact Book is available as an online resource which includes a glossary of terms and links to all data sources.

The Fact Book is updated at regular intervals throughout the year by the Financial Inclusion Team. For any enquiries, please contact financial.inclusion@leeds.gov.uk

Headline Poverty Facts in Leeds

People in Poverty

  • 14.4 million people in the UK were in Relative Poverty in 2021/22 (after housing costs are deducted from income)
  • Relative Poverty is estimated to affect 178,630 people in Leeds (after housing costs are deducted from income)
  • A couple with 2 children are in poverty if they earn £486/week or less (after housing costs)
  • A single adult with no children is in poverty on earnings of £174/week or less (after housing costs)

Children in Poverty

  • Latest local estimates from HMRC & DWP estimate that 32,933 children under 16 in Leeds were in poverty in 2021/22
  • In 2021/22, 70.6% (3m out of 4.2m) of children in poverty are from working families (AHC).

In-Work Poverty

  • AHC, 28.6% of working age adults in the UK live in households where at least one adult is in work and live in relative poverty. This affects an estimated 3.2m adults in the UK.

Wages and Employment

  • The Living Wage Foundation recommend employers outside of London pay £10.90/hour from April 2023
  • The Government’s National Living Wage is set at £10.42/hour for all employees aged 23 and over
  • The Government’s National Minimum Wage is set at £10.18/hour for employees aged 21-22
  • On average, Leeds residents are paid £14.56/hour
  • An estimated 40,258 FTE Leeds residents earned less than the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage in 2022
  • Inflationary impacts on median weekly wages reveal Leeds residents saw their incomes fall by almost £10 per week
  • It is estimated that almost 12,000 Leeds workers were on zero hour contracts in Dec 2021

Welfare Reform and Universal Credit

  • Under occupancy changes under Welfare Reform affected over 4,212 Leeds households claiming Housing Benefit in Sep 2019
  • The Benefit Cap affected over 551 Leeds households claiming Housing Benefit in Sep 2019
  • 12,949 households in Leeds now have to pay 25% of their council tax due to changes to Council Tax Support. This is an average of £298 owed per year in Council Tax by effected households.
  • As of October 2022, 72,700 individuals in Leeds were claiming Universal Credit, 40% of which were in employment and 60% were not in employment

Food Poverty

  • There were 65,830 food parcels given out informally during 2021/22 through emergency food providers, parish pantries and  Community Care Hubs

Fuel Poverty

  • An estimated 60,800 Leeds households were in fuel poverty in 2020 under the Low Income Low Energy Efficiency (LILEE) metric.  This affects 17.6% of all Leeds households.


  • Average household debt in the UK (excluding mortgages) was £7,412 in October 2022.
  • Average consumer borrowing was £3,895 in October 2022.
  • Index of Deprivation
  • In the 2019 index, 186,334 people in Leeds lived in areas that are ranked amongst the most deprived 10% nationally, the corresponding figure in the 2015 Index was 164,000 people

Section 1: Relative and Absolute Poverty

Section 2: Child Poverty

Section 3: Wages, Household Income and Employment

Section 4: Welfare Benefits and Universal Credit

Section 5: In-work Poverty and Out of Work Benefits

Section 6: Food Poverty

Section 7: Fuel Poverty

Section 8: Debt and High Cost Lending

Section 9: Index of Multiple Deprivation



AHC                                      After Housing Costs

APR                                      Annual Percentage Rate

APS                                      Annual Population Survey

ASHE                                    Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

BBA                                      British Bankers’ Association

BHC                                      Before Housing Costs

CCJ                                       County Court Judgement

CDFI                                     Community Development Finance Institution

CML                                     Council for Mortgage Lenders

CPI                                       Consumer Price Index

CT                                         Council Tax

CTB                                      Council Tax Benefit

CTC                                       Child Tax Credit

CTS                                       Council Tax Support

DHP                                     Discretionary Housing Payment

DMP                                    Debt Management Plan

DRO                                     Debt Relief Order

DWP                                    Department of Work and Pensions

ESA                                       Employment Support Allowance

FSM                                     Free School Meals

HB                                        Housing Benefit

HBAI                                    Households below average income

HML                                     Headrow Moneyline

IB                                         Incapacity Benefit

IMD                                     Index of Multiple Deprivation

IS                                          Income Support

IVA                                       Individual Voluntary Arrangements

JSA                                       Jobseekers Allowance

LCC                                       Leeds City Council

LCU                                      Leeds Credit Union

LFS                                       Labour Force Survey

LIHC                                     Low Income High Cost

LP                                         Lone Parents

LSOA                                    Lower Super Output Area

ONS                                     Office for National Statistics

RPI                                       Retail Price Index

SDA                                      Severe Disablement Allowance

SOA                                      Super Output Area

UC                                        Universal Credit

WTC                                     Working Tax Credit

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Absolute Poverty Absolute low income measures the proportion of individuals who have household incomes 60% below the median average in 2010/11, adjusted for inflation. It is used to look at how changes in income for the lowest income households compare to changes in the cost of living. The year 2010/11 is used in order to measure absolute low income in line with the Child Poverty Act 2010. Absolute poverty falls if individuals with the lowest incomes see their income rise more than inflation.

After Housing Costs Income trends over time after deducting housing costs are useful where rents have increased for a given quality of accommodation, otherwise, for example a rise in housing benefit to offset higher rents would be counted as an income rise.

Bankruptcy is a form of debt relief available for anyone who is unable to pay the debts they owe. Any assets owned will vest in a trustee in bankruptcy who will sell them and distribute the proceeds to creditors in accordance with the order laid down by statute.

Before Housing Costs Income trends over time before deducting housing costs are useful where there has been an increase in housing costs because of better quality housing, and so living standards have improved.

Benefit Cap limits the total amount of benefit received by working age people who are not in employment.

Council Tax Support is a scheme introduced in 2013/14 for which government provide Local Authorities with a limited sum of money unlike the previous scheme of Council Tax Benefit which was demand led, and expenditure incurred by Local Authorities was reclaimed by them from the government.

Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a form of debt relief available to those who owe £15,000 or less and have little by way of assets or income. There is no distribution to creditors, and discharge from debts takes place 12 months after the DRO is granted.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) The DHP scheme provides support to tenants affected by the welfare changes.

Individual insolvency procedures include bankruptcy, debt relief orders and individual voluntary arrangements.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) are a voluntary means of repaying creditors some or all of what they are owed.

Key in-work benefits consists of: Carers Allowance (Carers), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Industrial Injuries benefits (Disabled) and Widow’s Benefit, Bereavement Benefit or Industrial Death Benefit (Bereaved)

Key out-of-work benefits consist of the groups: Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Incapacity Benefits (IB), lone parents (LP) and others on income related benefits. Others on income related benefits are out-of-work benefits which combine Other Income Support (such as IS Disability Premium) or Pension Credit.

Local Welfare Support Scheme The Local Welfare Support scheme provides goods and services rather than cash for those in need, impacted by welfare reform.

Median Average Income Median household income divides the population, when ranked by equivalised household income, into two equal-sized groups. Equivalisation adjusts incomes for household size and composition, taking an adult couple with no children as the reference point. For example, the process of equivalisation would adjust the income of a single person upwards, so their income can be compared directly to the standard of living for a couple

Relative Poverty   Relative low income measures the number and proportion of individuals who have household incomes below 60% of the median average in that year – and is used to look at how changes in income for the lowest income households compare to changes in incomes near the average. The population in relative low income falls if income growth at the lower end of the income distribution outstrips average income growth.

Super Output Areas (SOAs) – SOAs were introduced by ONS to facilitate the analysis of statistics at the small area level. LSOAs have a minimum of 1,000 residents and 400 households (but with an average population of 1500). For the IMD 2015, this has resulted in the creation of 482 lower level areas in Leeds (England contains 32,844 LSOAs).

Under Occupation Housing Benefit paid to working age tenants who live in council or housing association properties will be reduced where they have more bedrooms than the family needs.