Minimum Income Standards more than many can even hope for.

9 07 2012

BBC News just had a feature saying the Joseph Rowntree Foundation undertook their annual survey into minimum income standards derived from the minimum acceptable living standards in the UK. The findings, taken from research among the general public, say that a family of four must earn £37,000 before tax to meet the minimum income standards. A single parent with one child (and childcare costs) would need to earn almost £24,000 to meet the minimum standard, while a single person with no children must earn £16,400.

1 in 4, or 17 million people living in Britain today, do not meet this standard

What bothers me about this study is, that it is the general public determine what the minimum income standard is to be considered acceptable. That the costs that go towards devising this perceived standard are for the things people are deemed to be unable to participate appropriately in society without. The necessities. This is the very same general public who believe benefits recipients are receiving far too much from the state, and are living extremely comfortable if not luxurious lifestyles thanks to the great british taxpayer. Yet a family of four surviving on benefits will most likely not be seeing £37,000 a year and if they are, guaranteed the vast majority of that will go to Landlords in the way of Housing Benefit.

With restrictions on the income of families existing on benefits to be set at a maximum total of £26,ooo per year, including housing costs, it appears the country is contradicting itself. When the scarily influential Daily Mail is saying that families on benefits of considerably less than £37k a year are living in luxury, yet society believes we need far more to live to a basic acceptable standard, what does that say about a society who accepts and celebrates in reducing the quality of life for people on benefits?

When the minimum income standard is based on things that are considered essentials, what of those who cannot meet this standard? In a family with 2 children, the parents must earn an average of £18,500 each which is only just below the national average. This means the multitudes of families surviving on minimum wage jobs (£11,065 per year at 35 hrs a week) or zero hours contracts (no guaranteed hours a week) will be nowhere near meeting the minimum acceptable standards for living in the UK in 2012, even with tax credit top ups and child benefit.

Studies like this are interesting and important to gauge public perceptions of acceptability and income, but it is important to highlight the inequality in Britain and the growing gap between those who have acceptable living standards and those who do not. I’m not just talking about the gap between the very rich and the very poor but the gaping chasm between minimum acceptable standards according to the general public and the minimum amount the government say people existing on benefits need to live on.

The Minimum Income Standards as decided upon by the general public are far more than millions of people surviving on benefits can even hope for.

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2 responses

10 07 2012
Jem

Hahahahaha.. £37k. I wish.

10 07 2012
grumpyhatlady

At the mo I’d be happy with £10k

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