Families “squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages”

A new report by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) casts further light on the extent to which families are struggling financially across the country.

A new report by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) casts further light on the extent to which families are struggling financially across the country.

The cost of raising a child has gone up to £148, 000 which is a rise of 4% over the last year.

The figure of £148, 000 is the minimum that the CPAG says it costs to afford a child’s minimum needs up to the age of 18.

Meanwhile the minimum wage has only risen by 1.8%, average earnings by 1.5%, tax credits by 1% and child benefit has not risen at all. The study also shows that the value of benefits paid to families have fallen in real terms.

Families on the minimum wage or benefits are especially affected by the squeeze on living standards.

Families in which both parents work full time on the national minimum wage have only 83% of the minimum income needed to support their families, whilst single parents have 87% of the minimum income needed to support their families.

For families that are reliant on out of work benefits, families with two parents receive 58% of the income they need and single parents 62%.

Alison Grantham, the Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, has said:

“This research paints a stark picture of families being squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages, yet receiving ever-diminishing support from the government over the course of the last year.

“Every parent knows it’s getting harder to pay for the essentials their children need, and they don’t feel like politicians see them as a priority. Child benefit and child tax credit have been cut at the very time families need them most. Families are getting worse off and parents know it.”

Katie Schmuecker, Policy and Research Manager at Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which also co-funded the research study commented:

“This research looks at how much it costs parents to give their children a standard of living that the public think is the minimum acceptable.  The task of making ends meet for families with children has always been hard, but is getting harder, and balancing family budgets has become a perilous and delicate act for hard-pressed parents.

“Flat lining wages, cuts to benefits and tax credits and the rising cost of essentials is creating a growing gap between income and needs.

“The next election is likely to be the first since the 1930s where living standards are lower than the last poll. All parties must go to the country with policies and a commitment to help the prospects of low-income families.

“The risk and costs otherwise are enormous. Child poverty costs the Treasury £29 billion a year – a price we can scarcely afford to pay, particularly in the current economic context.”

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