One in four British families lack ‘decent standard of living’

By Cassie Chambers

A huge minority of British families are not attaining a "decent" standard of living, according to a new report.

The Joseph Roundtree Foundation’s (JRF) annual minimum income standard figures, published today, suggest that up to one in four families in the UK lack a decent standard of living.

“These figures are a warning that we could see a generation of families that have to go without essentials,” said Oxfam’s director of UK poverty, Chris Johnes.

“Yet again we are seeing evidence of working families being hit hardest by a perfect storm of soaring living costs and cuts to services and crucial support, like working tax credits,” he continued.

The JFR report cites other evidence of an increase in UK poverty, including figures showing that the recession has pushed three million people below the minimum income standard.

The report also claims that the gap between the national minimum wage and the income needed to have an acceptable standard of living has widened "especially fast" in recent years, and that this gap is most marked for families with children.

According to Johnes, having a job is not enough to protect families from the effects of the recession.

He said: “Millions of families are struggling to get by on dwindling incomes and even when both parents work full time they each need to earn 50% above the minimum wage, in order to provide a decent standard of living for their kids.”

He suggested that critical government action is needed to protect ‘struggling’ families from the raging ‘storm’, claiming that a stronger social safety net is essential.

“The government need to take action to protect the poorest families by reversing cuts to working tax credits and increasing the minimum wage,” Johnes argued.

He added: “Work should always pay enough for families to be able afford to have a decent quality of life.”