Just about managing: Four million more people living on inadequate incomes in modern Britain

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published ‘Just about managing: Four million more people living on inadequate incomes in modern Britain’.

This report sheds light on how different kinds of household are faring, against the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). MIS is a benchmark of income adequacy, as defined by what the public think is needed for a decent living standard. It is calculated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University.

The report warns that millions of just managing families are on the tipping point of falling into poverty as prices rise in the shops, with forecasts showing the cost of living could be 10 per cent higher by 2020.

Between 2008/9 – 2014/5, based on the latest available data from official statistics:

The number of individuals below MIS rose by four million, from 15 million to 19 million (from 25 to 30 per cent of the population).

There are 11 million people living far short of MIS, up from 9.1 million, who have incomes below 75% of the standard and are at high risk of being in poverty.

The remaining eight million fall short of the minimum, by a smaller amount, and despite having a more modest risk of poverty, are just about managing at best.

Read the report here

In response to this report, the head of analysis at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Helen Barnard, said:

“Record employment in the economy is welcome and work has to be the best route out of poverty. But we know employment alone will not always help people reach a decent standard of living.

“Our analysis shows four million more people over the last six years have fallen below a decent leaving standard, meaning they are struggling to make ends meet.

“Tackling the high cost of living is crucial to helping just managing families, particularly with a challenging outlook: inflation is likely to average 2.6% this year, in sharp contrast to the very low inflation of recent times.

“Government focus on modest incomes is welcome, but there is a fine margin between just managing today and poverty tomorrow.”

Read the comments here

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