15:17 11 July 2012
Working families are bearing the brunt of the recession it has been speculated after new research confirms that a family with two children requires an annual income of £36,800 a year to have a "socially acceptable" living standard.
The figure has spiked sharply in recent, cash-strapped times. In its annual minimum income study, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said families must earn a third more than in 2008, to live within social norms.
The research took on board 21 focus groups which were made up of working families, single people and pensioners to reveal that a couple with two children were said to need to earn a minimum of £18,400 a year each before tax; single people £16,400 a year; lone parent with one child £23,900 and a pensioner couple £12,000 each.
The study cited key stumbling blocks for working families: rising childcare costs, increased travel fees (bus fares have doubled since the late 1990s, prompting the "essential need" for a car) and benefit cuts.
JRF chief executive Julia Unwin said: "Parents facing low wages and pressure on their working time have little prospect of finding the extra money they need to meet growing household expenses.
"Many working people face the risk of sliding into poverty. It illustrates how anti-poverty measures are needed to address not just people's incomes but also the costs that they face."
A government spokesperson countered: "It is vital that we give young children the best start in life and that is why we are rolling out free early education, backed by more than £1bn, to help children and their parents.
"We recognise that child care costs are an issue and that is why the prime minister launched a commission into this matter which will report back in the autumn.
"We are also introducing Universal Credit from 2013, which will simplify the system and ensure that work pays."
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