Minimum wage fails to give families even a basic no-frills lifestyle, research finds
Couples raising two children while working full-time in minimum wage jobs are Â£49 a week short of being able to provide their family with a basic, no-frills lifestyle, research has found.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) called for an increase in the so-called national living wage to allow families to have an acceptable standard of living.
Its Cost Of A Child report, published today, showed an 11% weekly shortfall for a couple raising two children at the point they are aged three and seven.
Worse, however, was the deficit for lone parents, who fall 20% short each week of being able to provide a level of living for their children defined as acceptable by public opinion.
The charity blamed rising prices, benefits and tax credit freezes, the bedroom tax and the roll-out of Universal Credit for hitting "family budgets hard".
CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham said: "There is strong public support for Government topping up the wages of low-paid parents and investing in children is the best long-term investment we can make.
"By using the forthcoming Budget to unfreeze benefits and restore work allowances, the Government can take steps towards making work really pay."
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Gains from increased minimum wages were offset by a freeze in tax credit support, the research said.
The findings did, however, show an improvement on last year, when the family with an 11% shortfall would have found themselves with a 13% deficit.
The overall cost for a couple raising a first child until they are 18 fell from £155,100 to £150,800.
A Government spokeswoman said fewer are living in absolute poverty today, and ministers are committed to giving every child the best chance.
"The employment rate is at a near-record high and the national living wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years, worth £2,000 extra per year for a full-time worker," she added.