Poorest working families struggle to put food on the table

By agency reporter
April 21, 2018

Over a third of working parents on low incomes have regularly skipped meals due to a lack of money, and almost half have fallen behind on household bills, according to new research from the Living Wage Foundation.

Polling conducted by Survation, polled 1,016 UK parents working full time and earning less than the real Living Wage, found:

  • 37 per cent said they had skipped meals regularly for financial reasons
  • 43 per cent said they had fallen behind on household bills
  • 29 per cent said they had fallen behind on their mortgage or rent payments
  • 37 per cent of respondents had topped up their monthly income with a credit card or loan
  • 22 per cent had taken out a payday loan to cover essential purchases
  • 51 per cent had borrowed money from a friend or relative
  • 30 per cent had walked to work as they couldn’t afford the travel fare
  • 55 per cent had to decline a social invitation due to lack of cash

This report follows news earlier this month that there is still a significant gap between the government's ‘National Living Wage ‘and the real Living Wage. On 1 April 2018, the government minimum wage for the over 25s, the ‘National Living Wage,’ was raised from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour. However, analysis conducted by the Living Wage Foundation found that someone working full-time on this wage would be almost £1,800 a year worse off than someone earning the real Living Wage of £8.75, based on the cost of living. Further analysis found that £1,800 could pay for more than six months’ food and drink bills for an average household, Over a year’s average gas and electricity bills, or almost three months' average rent.

Tess Lanning, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said, “These findings reveal the desperate choices low paid families have to make, and show why it’s so important that more employers take a stand by paying the real Living Wage, based on what they need to live, not just the government minimum.”

* Living Wage Foundation https://www.livingwage.org.uk/

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