Living wage still not enough to give families a basic 'no frills' lifestyle, says charity

The Child Poverty Action Group is calling on the government to restore work allowances

Sam Blewett
Monday 20 August 2018 13:12
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The cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is estimated at £150,800
The cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is estimated at £150,800

Parents working full time on the national living wage are still not earning enough for an acceptable standard of living, according to new research.

Couples raising two children are falling £49 a week short of being able to provide their family with a basic “no frills” lifestyle, it is claimed.

Lone parents are faring even worse, with a 20 per cent deficit in their weekly budget, say the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

The charity’s Cost of a Child Report, published on Monday, found that increased minimum wages were offset by a freeze in tax credit support.

It blamed rising prices, the bedroom tax, freezes to benefits and tax credits and the roll-out of Universal Credit for hitting “family budgets hard”.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of CPAG, called for an increase in the national living wage to allow families to provide a standard of living defined as acceptable by public opinion.

“There is strong public support for government topping up the wages of low-paid parents and investing in children is the best long-term investment we can make,” she said.

“By using the forthcoming budget to unfreeze benefits and restore work allowances, the government can take steps towards making work really pay.”

A government spokeswoman said fewer are living in absolute poverty today and ministers are committed to giving every child the best chance.

“The employment rate is at a near-record high and the national living wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years, worth £2,000 extra per year for a full-time worker,” she added.

The CPAG report found that the overall cost for a couple raising a first child until they are 18 has fallen from £155,100 to £150,800.

It also showed a small improvement in family budgets since last year, with a couple raising two children at the point they are aged three and seven falling 11 per cent short each week instead of 13 per cent short.

PA

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