Millions of households struggle to make ends meet although in full-time employment

Millions of households struggle to make ends meet although in full-time employment

Despite at least one adult working full time, millions of households cannot make ends meet, Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports.

Millions of households struggle to make ends meet even though they include at least one adult in full-time work, according to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

Calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, the report assessed the period from the start of the banking crisis in 2008 to 2013-14.

Living standards have declined since 2008 despite the economy’s return to growth, the anti-poverty charity said, warning that families with children are at particular risk of a life in poverty.

The report found that 2.6 million households, or 60 percent of those where the total income is below the charity’s minimum income standard, included at least one working adult.

About 600,000 households were living below the Minimum Income Standard, despite every adult being in full-time employment.

The MIS is determined by asking members of the public to define what is needed to “live to an adequate level”.

The threshold is £16,850 for a single person, £25,600 for a lone parent with one child and £36,060 for a single breadwinner with two children.

Approximately 11.6 million people in the UK live below the MIS. In 2008, prior to the banking crisis, approximately 21 percent fell below that level.

“Overall, the risk of falling short of a decent living standard has increased sharply since 2008-09. An improving economy alone is not guaranteed to reverse this rise.”

The JRF said its findings showed that “the economic security of many working families is not assured in the recovery”, despite record numbers of people in work.

“Cuts in benefits have outweighed improved job prospects to contribute to an increase in the risk of having too little income to meet the MIS,” the foundation said.

The government’s national living wage of £7.20 an hour, which is due to be introduced in April, is expected to help deliver further improvements for households with no children.

The report warned that the picture for households with children was looking bleaker. Anyone living in a family with children has seen their risk of falling below the MIS watermark increase by a third since the previous report. That means that 40 percent now live below the MIS – two million more than in 2008-09.

The foundation called on the chancellor, George Osborne, to address living standards in his next budget, due in mid-March, by giving businesses incentives to help employees into better-paid jobs.

Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.