The government should do much more to help Britons get through the downturn, charity Oxfam has said.
In a report out today, Close to Home, UK Poverty and the Economic Downturn, Oxfam says Britain is fast becoming a nation of 'Freds' forgotten, ripped-off, excluded from opportunities and debt-ridden.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the charity found just four per cent of adults thought the government was doing enough to help those who have lost their jobs.
And three-quarters believed job-seekers allowance was not enough to live on.
Oxfam fears the recession will make matters much worse for the fifth of the population who already live in poverty.
It is also concerned many others whose livelihoods are threatened by the recession will suffer.
"Bold action needs to be taken by the government to prevent a major rise in poverty here in the UK," Oxfam's deputy director of UK poverty Antonia Bance said.
"Now, more than ever, it can't be business as usual in the UK. The government must help people living below the poverty line as well as the growing number at risk of poverty in the Budget on April 22nd."
The government has pledged to halve child poverty by 2010, but most experts now expect it to fail in its attempt.