THE UK is facing “a decade of destitution” and “outrage is not enough”, the head of a York charity has warned.

In an online article, Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the charity was embarking on a major programme to develop “anti-poverty strategies” for the whole of the UK and said she hoped 2013 would be a year of “real change and improvement”.

She said the campaign for a Living Wage was already bearing fruit, but the welfare system had “major design flaws”.

Her message has been sent at a time when The Press has launched its own Stamp Out Poverty campaign.

Ms Unwin wrote: “I sense a growing outrage – food banks open across the country, teachers report children coming to school hungry, advice services and local authorities prepare for the risks attached to welfare reform, there is evidence of a rising number of people sleeping rough and destitution is reported with increasing frequency.

“We need to recognise the grim reality of grinding poverty and destitution. We need to understand what is really happening, make sure it cannot be ignored and point consistently, creatively and credibly to the things which can be done.”

She said JRF’s housing and poverty programme would be unveiled in the new year and will look at how the two issues are linked and how problems can be addressed.