Latest Public Sector News

10.07.12

Cost of family living rises by a third over recession

A family with two children needs to earn £36,800 – a third more than before the recession – to have an acceptable standard of living, new research shows.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report highlighting the growing cost of childcare and travel, alongside cuts to tax credits, as hitting families hardest. One in four families in theUKnow lacks a decent standard of living, the report reveals.

Childcare comprises families’ biggest weekly outgoing and the cost of bus travel has risen above that for owning and running a car. The gap between the minimum wage and the salary needed to reach ‘minimum standards’ has widened dramatically over recent years, with an hourly rate of 55% this year, compared to 30% in 2010.

JRF chief executive Julia Unwin said: “Families have a monumental task trying to earn enough to get by. Parents facing low wages and pressure on their working time have little prospect of finding the extra money they need to meet growing household expenses.

“This year’s research shows that a dangerous cocktail of service cuts and stagnating incomes are being keenly felt by parents. Many working people face the risk of sliding into poverty. It illustrates how anti-poverty measures are needed to address not just people's incomes but also the costs that they face.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We have had to make tough choices to repair the country's finances and return the economy to growth, but this government is committed to helping the most vulnerable in society. By next year, we will have taken 2 million of the lowest earners out of paying tax altogether by increasing the personal tax threshold. We are also introducing universal credit from 2013, which will simplify the system and ensure that work pays.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Image c. Dave Buchwald under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.

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