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Oxfam response to the publication of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) Minimum Income Standard for the UK

10th Jul 2012

The JRF's annual Minimum Income Standard (MIS) figures, published tonight, are defined by what members of the public think people need to have a socially acceptable standard of living. The results for 2012 show that:

·    One in four families* in the UK lack a decent standard of living
·    Since the recession 3 million more people have been pushed below the MIS
·    Working families need to earn a third more to be able to get by**
·    The gap between the National Minimum Wage and the salary needed to reach the MIS has widened especially fast for families with children in the past two years

Oxfam's Director of UK poverty, Chris Johnes, said: "Yet again we are seeing evidence of working families being hit hardest by a perfect storm of soaring living costs and cuts to services and crucial support, like working tax credits.

"Millions of families are struggling to get by on dwindling incomes and even when both parents work full time they each need to earn 50 per cent above the minimum wage, in order to provide a decent standard of living for their kids.

"These figures are a warning that we could see a generation of families that have to go without essentials. The government need to take action to protect the poorest families by reversing cuts to working tax credits and increasing the minimum wage. Work should always pay enough for families to be able afford to have a decent quality of life."

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Chris Johnes, please contact: Sarah Dransfield, Oxfam Press Officer, on 01865 472269, 07767 085636 or
Notes to editors
*2 adults and 2 children
**Since the 2008 recession