At least 4 million people are at risk of falling below the poverty line because of rising food and fuel prices, a new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has warned.
The cost of living could rise by up to 10% by 2020, increasing pressure on household budgets, the foundation said, with the impact worsened by a freeze on tax credits and working age benefits.
Record levels of employment would not solve the problem, the JRF’s report said, given the growing numbers of working people in low income jobs.
Around 30% of the population, equivalent to 19 million people, are living below the nationally-recognised minimum income standard (MIS), a benchmark calculated by Loughborough University’s centre for research in social policy, which assesses the income required for decent living standards. The latest available figures, from 2014-15, show a rise of 4 million since 2008.
Around 8 million of them could be classified as “just about managing” families, to whom Theresa May referred in her Tory leadership speech, and who are making ends meet but not earning enough to have an adequate standard of living. The MIS assesses the income needed to have not just food, shelter and clothes, but to be able to be an active participant in #society.
“You have a job but you don’t always have job security,” the prime minister said of so-called “Jams” last summer. “You can just about manage but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.”