Socialist Worker

Working poor are getting poorer still

by Adam Cochrane
Issue No. 2410

The cost of a minimum food shopping basket has increased by 28 percent since the recession hit in 2008. Domestic fuel has gone up by 45 percent and transport costs by 37 percent.

The new Minimum Income Standard (MIS) report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows how conditions have worsened. 

The MIS has been published annually since 2008 to define what people in Britain consider an adequate income to live on.

Expectations have fallen in places such as eating out or buying takeaways. This is now considered an “occasional treat” rather than a weekly occurence. 

This year for the first time, working age adults without children are assumed to be renting private accommodation. The chance of them “getting access to social housing has become too remote to be used as an assumption.” 

The study reveals that basic out of work benefits provide considerably less than half the income required to meet the MIS. 

Workers on the National Minimum Wage have fallen further below the MIS since it rises more slowly than living costs. 

The problem is compounded for families with children. A family with two children and one working adult would need to earn £12.63  an hour more than the minimum wage to meet the MIS.

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Tue 1 Jul 2014, 18:12 BST
Issue No. 2410
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