Parents 'must earn £18,400 each to get by'

How much do you need to earn to get by? According to one charity, parents need a salary of at least £18,400 - each - in order to achieve an acceptable standard of living.

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) say that the increased cost of living (5% on last year) combined with cuts to childcare assistance and the freeze on child benefit mean families need to earn more than they did a year ago in order to get by.

Donald Hirsch, of Loughborough University, who wrote the report, said: "The squeeze in living standards caused by the combination of rising prices and stagnant incomes is hitting people on low incomes hard."

According to the report, the average single person, without kids to support, needs to earn £15,000 (or £240.89 a week) before tax and benefits to enjoy an acceptable standard of living. A pensioner couple need an income of £302.74 a week, a couple with two children need £705.63 and a lone parent with one child needs £466.08.

"This report is an early sign of the huge impact that even seemingly modest changes in the welfare system can have, especially for low-income working families who depend on it to achieve an acceptable living standard," the report said.

"In practice, earnings have risen by less than inflation, meaning that many people on low incomes are finding it substantially harder to make ends meet than a year ago."

The national minimum wage currently stands at £5.93 – a figure which is far too low, according to the charity.

The report suggested that to achieve a reasonable standard of living, a single person would need to earn £7.67 an hour, a lone parent with one child would need to earn £9.33 an hour, and a couple with two children £9.41 an hour.

The Government said it is doing what it can to help people who are struggling.

An HM Treasury spokesman said: "The Government recognises that people are feeling squeezed and is doing what it can to help, reducing fuel duty so taxes on fuel are 6p lower than they would have been and implementing an increase in the personal allowance in April, taking over 800,000 of the lowest paid out of tax."

How much do you need to earn in order to get by these days? Leave a comment below...