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Cost of living has doubled since 2008

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Some households need to have more than doubled their income since 2008 for an adequate standard of living

A single parent with one child now needs to earn more than double what they did six years ago to have an acceptable standard of living.

The latest Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Minimum Income Standard (MIS) created a list of the goods and services different types of households need to live at an adequate level by surveying members of the public.

Researchers from Loughborough University found a lone parent with one child needs to earn £27,100 to be able to afford items including a weekly basket of shopping, transport costs, utility bills, clothing and housing payments.

In 2008, when the MIS was first developed, the figure was much lower at only £12,000.

Rising childcare costs was cited as one of the contributions to the increased figure and researchers also deeming it necessary for a single parent to own a car due to worsening transport services.

A minimum basket of goods and services costs 27 to 28% more than in 2008 – much higher than the 19% increase of the official Consumer Prices Index.

The income they need to make ends meet has soared at a time when their ability to make up the shortfall is severely constrained.

Increased tax allowances have curbed the effect of falling real earnings, but ongoing cuts in tax credits and slow earnings growth have outweighed this for low-earning families with children.

Julia Unwin, chief executive of JRF, said: “These figures show there is still a lot of work needed to make up the lost ground for low income families. The income they need to make ends meet has soared at a time when their ability to make up the shortfall is severely constrained.

“There is no guarantee recovery will restore living standards for the poorest families, so we need joined-up measures to help alleviate the pressure on the worst off households: as the recovery gathers momentum, we must ensure those in greatest need feel the benefits of growth.”

It’s not just single parent families that are being hit in the pocket though.

A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008.

Single working-age people must now earn more than £16,200, up from £13,500 in 2008.

Unemployment benefits account for 39% of what single, working-age people need to reach the MIS. On the other hand, pensioner couples who claim all their allowances receive 95% of the amount required.

Abigail Davis, an author of the report, said: “Throughout the past few difficult years, the people we talk to have held a consistent view of what it means to live at an acceptable level in the UK.

“It means being able to afford to feed your family and heat your home properly, but also having enough to buy a birthday present for your children, and to spend time with your family away from home, such as the occasional meal out.

“The growing number of people who fall below this standard are unable to afford basic goods, services and activities that most of us would take for granted.”



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