Cost of "acceptable" living standard up by a third for families

The Momentum UK Team 10 July 2012

The rising cost of living means that a family of two adults and two children now need an income of £36,800 to achieve a socially “acceptable” standard of living, according to a study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  

Families now need to earn a third more than they did in 2008 to pay for the increasing cost childcare and transport while making up for a fall in tax credits.

Single people need to earn £16,400 per year, and a single parent with a child £23,900 to achieve an acceptable standard of living according to the study. Pensioner couples need an income of £231.48 per week.

The Minimum Income Standard (MIS) study tracks the amount that people think that they need in order to live at a socially acceptable standard of living and takes into account views on household goods and services, food and drink, transport and social and cultural activities.

The report is based on focus group findings that included those of working age with and without children, and pensioners.

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the JRF, 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.

Donald Hirsch, co-author of the report said:

“People are being more modest in terms of what they think needs to be spent on participating in society, but this thrift has been outweighed by rising costs. Parents have not changed their view of most needs, including a nutritious diet and participation by children in activities vital for social inclusion. What has changed is the ability of many families to afford such essentials."

The study, conducted on behalf of the anti-poverty charity found a quarter of the UK population have an income of less than the MIS, an increase of 3 million across the last four years.

Chris Johnes, director of UK poverty at Oxfam said:

"Millions of families are struggling to get by on dwindling incomes and even when both parents work full time they each need to earn 50% above the minimum wage, in order to provide a decent standard of living for their kids."