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Does it really cost £14,400 a year to maintain a basic standard of living?

A report by the Jacob Rowntree Foundation yesterday cast a dark shadow on low-income families in the UK who appear to have been left high and dry by previous governments. The report suggested that a single person requires in excess of £14,400 a year to maintain a basic standard of living and for a couple with two children this figure is just over £29,000. So are these figures believable?

There is no doubt that these figures, an increase from £13,400 and £26,900 respectively two years ago, have taken account of a significant increase in low income family budgets which have risen by as much as 38% over the last 10 years. This comes at a time when there has been relatively little real income growth for those at the lower end of the spectrum hence the ever widening gap between those at the top of the income tree and those at the bottom. It also perfectly reflects how the cost of living in the UK has increased enormously over the last few years with the vast majority of household incomes unable to keep pace.

As we enter a period of budget cuts by the UK government there would appear to be more pain waiting around the corner, at least in the short to medium term.

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