A minimum income standard for the UK in 2014: summary

Document type
Davis, Abigail; Hirsch, Donald; Padley, Matt
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Date of publication
1 July 2014
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This annual update of JRF’s Minimum Income Standard (MIS) looks afresh at what members of the public think households need to achieve a socially-acceptable living standard. Despite social and economic change, the budgets are similar in real terms to the original 2008 amounts. However, people’s ability to afford them has declined. 

In 2014, the minimum basket of goods and services needed for an acceptable living standard is generally very similar to that in 2008. Despite the impact of austerity on many households, people’s views on minimum needs have remained stable. Key points:

  • In 2014, single people need to earn £16,300 a year before tax to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living. Couples with two children need to earn £20,300 each.
  • Slow earnings growth and price increases have made households worse off relative to the MIS.
  • Pensioners claiming Pension Credit are still guaranteed incomes close to their minimum requirement. Social change means that pensioners now say they need computers and the internet; overall, their requirements have converged with those of working-age adults.

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