Working families are struggling even more than in previous years to make ends meet, a new report has warned.
An analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) published today found that families with one full-time worker are £870 a year further away from a decent standard of living than they were in 2016.
While lone parent families are £640 short of a decent living standard when compared to last year.
The JRF’s Minimum Income Standard (MIS) is based on what members of the public think people need to achieve a socially acceptable living standard.
According to the report, a single person now needs to earn £17,900 a year to reach MIS; a dual-earner couple with two children need to earn £20,400 each; and a lone parent with a pre-school child must earn £25,900.
Campbell Robb, the charity’s chief executive said “millions of families are facing a struggle to make ends meet as the cost of getting by in modern Britain rises ever higher”.
And Donald Hirsch, the author of the report, said the freeze in benefits and tax credits was responsible.
“It is clear from these results that this freeze is preventing better minimum wages from feeding through to improved family living standards,” he said.
“A particularly important feature of this is that for every extra pound earned, about 75p is typically lost by low earning families in additional tax and reduced tax credits or Universal Credit.”
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said the report “demonstrates the disastrous impact of the government’s failing austerity agenda upon families struggling to get by”.
“Rising inflation caused by the Government’s ideologically driven economic programme, combined with the freeze on social security are driving increasing hardship for millions,” she said.
“Theresa May’s promise of building a ‘country for everyone’ is lying in tatters as her coalition of chaos grinds to a halt. Only Labour will build a social security system that, like the NHS, works for us all in our time of need.
“We will end the social security freeze that is causing so many families to suffer, and introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour to build a Britain for the many, not just the few.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: “Millions of people are facing a squeeze because of the Conservatives’ cruel insistence on balancing the books on the backs of the working poor.
“Decisions made in Whitehall are being felt by families up and down the country. Earnings are not keeping up with rising costs and benefit cuts.”
Oxfam’s Head of UK programmes, Justin Watson, said: “This is yet more evidence that hard working families in Britain are really struggling to make ends meet. For too many families employment isn’t working as a route out of poverty. With more people living in poverty than at any time in the last twenty years, more clearly needs to be done ensure that having a job is enough to give people a decent standard of living.”