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Working families 'don't earn enough to live on'

Working families 'don't earn enough to live on'

Low wages, benefits cuts and the rising cost of raising children are leaving full-time working families struggling to afford a basic standard of living, a report by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has found.

The report, Cost of a Child in 2014, which was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found the income of families in full-time jobs at the national minimum wage is 18 per cent short of the basic amount needed to achieve a minimum standard of living.For those out of work the shortfall is 43 per cent, according to the report that says the cost of raising a child has risen by eight per cent since 2012 for a couple and 11 per cent for lone parents.CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham said: “Children cost. That is why families with children have a higher risk of poverty than those without. "The most recent statistics show 27 per cent of children live in poverty in the UK, and with declining levels of support for families, child poverty can only increase. “The cumulative impact of low pay and cuts to family support contribute to the remarkable finding that the combined wages and benefits of a family with both parents working full-time on the minimum wage are still insufficient to meet the basic needs of that family.”She called on the government to do more to ensure children and their parents are protected from poverty. The report is now in its third year and measures the basic needs of a family against wages and benefit income. It estimates the cost of raising a child is now £164.19 a week including childcare, rent and council tax costs. For a lone parent the weekly cost is £184.50.Childcare is the most expensive cost and has risen by 42 per cent between 2008 and this year, twice the official inflation rate. Benefit cuts and freezes have also had an effect, with child benefit now covering 19.2 per cent of the cost of raising a child for a couple, compared to 20 per cent in 2012. But a Treasury spokesman said the government’s long-term economic plan to build a "stronger economy and a fairer society" is working, pointing to the UK having the fastest-growing economy in the G7 and "more people in work than ever before". "The only way to secure rising living standards is to fix the economy," he added. “The effects of the great recession are still being felt, and so where possible we’ve acted to help including by lifting over three million people out of paying income tax altogether, providing free school meals, and tax-free childcare to up to 1.9 million families.”

Story courtesy of CYP

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