The Tories’ fake living wage is not even enough to allow families to support their children, according to a new report by the Child Poverty Action Group.
The report, Cost of a Child in 2017, estimates what the cost is of raising a child in the UK, based on the minimum income standard (MIS) — a threshold calculated according to what members of the public deem essential items for every family. The 2016 MIS calculation was £17,100 (before tax) for a single person and £18,900 each for a couple with two children.
Two-parent families working full time on the national living wage are £59 a week short of the cost of providing their children with a basic standard of living.
Single parents working full time on the national living wage are short £68 every week.
The report also drew attention to the effect of the Tory benefit freeze on out of work parents.
Single parents relying on benefits are typically £146 short every week, while unemployed couples are short £187.
The report’s author Donald Hirsch said Tory benefit cuts had made low-paid families’ situations worse.
“The struggle that low-income families face to make ends meet will become steadily harder, especially because it is being combined with numerous other cuts including the benefit cap and the bedroom tax,” he said.
The chief executive of the CPAG, Alison Garnham, said: “Rather than prioritising tax cuts which help the better off, the Chancellor should use the Autumn Budget to invest in helping families with children. Ending the benefits freeze should be the first step he takes to rebalance the finances of ordinary families.”
The Tories rebranded the national minimum wage the “living wage” in 2016. It is far lower than the living wage defined by the Living Wage Foundation.
The Tories’ minimum wage is just £7.50 an hour for people aged 25 and over, falling to just £4.05 for workers aged under 18. That’s much less than the actual living wage of £8.45 an hour, or £9.75 for people living in London.
Pat Harrington, general secretary of Solidarity, commented: "What this report proves is that the Tory living wage isn't a living wage at all for many with families. We must press for a range of measures to alleviate poverty but we must also understand that only radical change in the ways we distribute the wealth of the nation will ultimately create the society we want."