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Wednesday, September 9, 1998 Published at 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK


15% of UK 'in poverty'

About one in 10 Britons are not expected to live to 60

Deprivation, unemployment and low literacy levels make the UK one of the most poverty-stricken countries among developed nations, according to a new United Nations report.

Only the Republic of Ireland and the US suffer higher levels of poverty than the UK.

The UK was ranked 14th - behind countries such as Germany, Japan and Australia - in the United Nations Development Programme's poverty index.

More than a fifth of UK adults are considered functionally illiterate while 13.5% were living below the recognised level of the poverty line - half the median personal disposable income.

After taking in to account life expectancy, knowledge deprivation and social exclusion, the report says 15% of the UK population live in poverty.

It also says 9% of Britons are not expected to live to 60.

The gap between rich and poor is growing across the world, the report says, with 20% of the world's population consuming 86% of goods and services.

According to the UN, global consumption will top $24 trillion this year, six times the figure for 1975, as people consume more food, energy, transportation, communications services and entertainment.

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