The National Minimum Wage cannot provide an acceptable standard of living


A project aiming to define an ‘adequate’ income in the UK has shown that the National Minimum Wage falls far short of what is required, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The organisation’s research is based on what members of the public think is enough money to live on, to maintain a socially-acceptable quality of life, examining changes in living costs and the tax and benefits system. It compares incomes on benefits and on the National Minimum Wage to the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ (MIS).

According to the JRF, the cost of a decent standard of living, as defined by the public, has stopped rising for the first time since the recession began – but the gap between people’s incomes and the amount they need to cover their essential costs has widened greatly since 2008.

The figures generated by MIS are used to calculate the Living Wage outside London and assess the impact of public policy on people’s living standards. JRF research has also used it to explore how far Universal Credit will help people reach an adequate income.

Of particular interest will be the following image, showing the lie being fed to us by the Conservative Government with its benefit cap. It seems a couple with two children need to receive £20,000 each to meet the Minimum Income Standard – while the Tories say £23,000 in total is enough.


For completeness, here’s the JRF’s graph showing how far short the system falls, for people on particular out-of-work benefits:


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6 thoughts on “The National Minimum Wage cannot provide an acceptable standard of living

  1. Michelle

    It is hard to understand how anyone could believe that £23,000 per year to support 4 people is acceptable or possible. It’s even more dfficult to comprehend needing research to prove it!

    Has anyone of the MP’s ever worked for the soul destroying minimum wage? I’m guessing not.

    1. Ian Buchan

      Michelle…Not many in the Tory Party! In the 70’s and early 80’s I do know that there were Labour and Liberal MP,s who had themselves suffered Financial hardships in their past and understood the meaning of ‘ Having to do with out’. Now it seems a large number are simply graduates whose interest in life is Politics, without awareness and experience from the ‘School of Life’,

    2. Chris allen

      I’ve worked as a security guard for ten years on the minimum wage working up to 84 hours a week supporting two children and mortgage as my wife’s a full time stay at home mum and yes its very difficult and very hard,the only way to manage is keep juggling everything as best u can to stay affloat.

  2. Chris

    Pension Credit (savings) has been reducing year on year since 2010.

    And is abolished for new pensioners next year, under the flat rate law for those with a retirement date on and from 6 April.

    Just when the state pension is cut from its current rate for over 55 per cent of new pensioners, after the Lib Dems ex Pensions Minister Steve Webb lied that all would receive the flat rate £155 per week.

    The other benefit being lost, that means a penniless starving old age for women, is the
    when these women never had the chance of other pension provision in life.


  3. Chris

    We are all taxpayers, by the 75 per cent of all tax that comes from indirect taxes, excise duty (Gaming, alcohol, cigarettes, petrol) and VAT.

    Pensioners continue to pay these indirect taxes, as we all do, all their lives.

    On average, pensioners pay about £6,500 per year in such taxes.

    About as much as the denied state pension pay out each year to women since 2013 at 60, or any women yet to receive her state pension older than those til next year.

    So the government is taxing pensioners, whilst denying a couple the money from the wife’s state pension for over half a decade and more.

    Then cutting the wife’s state pension when she does get it, from next year.

    Losing the household budget money, already being taken in tax from men and women.

  4. mrmarcpc

    Wages/pay has been lousy for years, that is the issue the government should be addresssing, improving wages/pay, instead of cutting everything to the bone!

Comments are closed.