Families face major economic strain, as benefits at 40-year low

Families living on benefits will feel the strain, as benefits are at their lowest level since 1982 and inflation is at a 40-year high, according to new analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

It’s estimated families with children are facing price rises of £400 per month on items such as food, rent and heating, with inflation hitting poorer families the hardest.

The budgets, produced by Loughborough University, were calculated using the Minimum Income Standard and based on items the public considers necessary for a decent standard of living.

Researchers have discovered that costs for families with two children have risen faster than the official 9% rate of inflation, with the largest year on year increase since the Minimum Income Standard was created in 2008.

woman in red long sleeve shirt and black pants standing on white floor tiles

Peter Matejic, Deputy Director of Evidence and Impact at JRF said: ‘Rising prices are affecting all of us but for the UK’s poorest families there is no escape from soaring costs because so much of their income goes into the basics that everyone needs to take part in society.

‘The symptoms of these astonishing price rises can be seen in the shops and they can be seen in people rationing showers to once a week, giving up milk in their tea and eating cold meals to avoid using the oven. The cause is not simply rising prices – it is the growing gap between what social security provides and the income needed to reach an acceptable standard of living.

‘The Chancellor needs to recognise the urgency of this situation and realise that he really does have the power to protect the worst off from being pulled under. This cost of living crisis is being keenly felt, and will get worse without decisive action. The Government has the power and can choose to use the benefits system to uprate in line with inflation, ensuring that nobody falls below an income that allows them to afford the basics for themselves and their family.’

Loughborough University found the price of fuel, which has more than doubled in cost, is the main driver affecting budgets.

Other pressures include the rise in prices of food by 9.3%, childcare by 6.7%, motoring and other travel costs which equates to an altogether rise of 13% of costs compared to last year, ahead of the 9% inflation rate.

This means families are spending around an extra £120 per month on energy, £90 on transport including petrol and £65 on childcare.

Photo by Viki Mohamad


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