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Family of four need to earn £36,800 a year for decent standard of living - Turn2us

Joseph Rowntree Minimum Income Standards 2012 reportWorking families are being dealt a damaging triple financial blow in the recession, according to the new Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2012 (MIS) report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) this week.

Working families

The minimum that a couple with two children now needs to earn for an acceptable standard of living is £36,800. This figure has risen by nearly a third since 2008 - twice the rate of inflation.

Today's report finds that couples with two children have been hit in three areas:

  • Childcare: minimum costs have risen by nearly a third. In 2008, childminders outside London charged on average £2.70 an hour; now they charge £3.50. Childcare is families’ single biggest weekly outgoing
  • Transport: bus travel has doubled in price since the late 1990s which, combined with cuts to public transport, means families with children now deem a car as an essential for the first time
  • Tax credits: cuts to tax credits have increased earning requirements substantially, more than cancelling out the benefit of higher income tax thresholds.

Other household types and minimum income standards

To reach an adequate standard of living:

  • Single people need to earn £16,400 a year
  • Lone parents with one child £23,900 a year.
  • Pensioner couples need £231.48 a week, which is attainable providing they claim all the support they are entitled to.

The research has found a quarter of the UK's population live below MIS - 3 million more than in 2008.

Despite the squeeze, the public have not fundamentally changed their views of what is necessary to have an adequate standard of living. However, the research shows that people are being thrifty. For example, people said households can cut back on exchanging gifts and shopping around for deals and vouchers when eating out, and still achieve an acceptable minimum.

The Minimum Income Standard for the UK (MIS)

Since 2008, the Minimum Income Standard for the UK (MIS) research has tracked what members of the public think people need to have a socially acceptable standard of living and how much money this means different households (working age people with and without children and pensioners) need to reach this standard.

Read the Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2012 (link opens in a new window)

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation press release (link opens in a new window) and Guardian news article (link opens in a new window)

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