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Living Costs Up 'Five Times More Than Wages'

(c) Sky News 2014

Poor families are struggling to afford the most basic goods after their living costs rose at five times the rate of wages during the financial crisis, a study has found.

A couple with two children need to earn £40,600 before tax to reach an "acceptable living standard", according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation .

That is a rise of 46% from just under £28,000 at the start of the financial crisis in 2008.

In the same period wages have risen by just 9%.

One of the most shocking figures shows that a lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 - in 2008 that figure was £12,000.

Single working-age people require more than £16,200, a rise from £13,500.

For all consumers, basic necessities have soared 28% since 2008 - three times more than wages.

Report author Abigail Davis said: "Throughout the past few difficult years, the people we talk to have held a consistent view of what it means to live at an acceptable level in the UK.

"It means being able to afford to feed your family and heat your home properly, but also having enough to buy a birthday present for your children, and to spend time with your family away from home, such as the occasional meal out.

"The growing number of people who fall below this standard are unable to afford basic goods, services and activities that most of us would take for granted."

The figures are based on the JRF's minimum income standard (MIS), which assess how much is needed for a household budget according to public opinion.

Pensioners listed having the internet at home as essential for the first time while working age adults without children said that having a landline is no longer necessary.

Chief executive Julia Unwin said: "These figures show there is still a lot of work needed to make up the lost ground for low income families. The income they need to make ends meet has soared at a time when their ability to make up the shortfall is severely constrained.

"There is no guarantee recovery will restore living standards for the poorest families, so we need joined-up measures to help alleviate the pressure on the worst off households: as the recovery gathers momentum, we must ensure those in greatest need feel the benefits of growth."