MILLIONS of Britons cannot afford basic necessities and are falling well below society's standard of living, a new report has revealed.

Birkenhead MP Frank Field MP branded the findings as “horrendous.”

The Poverty and Social Exclusion report said almost 18m people cannot afford adequate housing conditions, while 12m are too poor to engage in common social activities.

Researchers found the figures had increased sharply over the past 30 years from 14% to 33% of households despite the size of the economy doubling.

Mr Field, who is chairing an all-party Parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty in Britain, said: “Tackling the causes of poverty is clearly the right strategy.

“This report shows that the Government’s strategy isn’t working.

“Here then is the most major challenge to all our political parties; what is your manifesto going to say to reverse the horrendous rise in the numbers of people in poverty detailed in this report?”

The PSE review said one-in-three people cannot afford to heat their homes properly in winter, with four million children and adults not properly fed by today's standards.

Experts, who are calling on the Government to take action, say their research shows full-time work is not always sufficient to escape poverty.

Professor David Gordon, from the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, which led the project, said: “The coalition Government aimed to eradicate poverty by tackling the causes of poverty. Their strategy has clearly failed.

"The available high-quality scientific evidence shows that poverty and deprivation have increased since 2010, the poor are suffering from deeper poverty and the gap between the rich and poor is widening."

The research was conducted by the University of Bristol, Heriot-Watt University, the Open University, Queen's University Belfast, University of Glasgow, University of Oxford, University of Birmingham, University of York, the National Centre for Social Research and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

It found around 5.5m adults go without essential clothing, while 2.5m children live in damp homes. Around 1.5m children live in households that cannot afford to heat their home.

One-in-four adults has an income below what they consider is needed to avoid poverty, while one in every six adults in paid work is poor.

More than one-in-five had been forced to borrow in the last year to pay for day-to-day needs.

The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, showed more than one-in-five adults and children were poor at the end of 2012.