Nearly a third of the population of Britain is living on an "inadequate" income, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). The figures are up from 15 million, or 25% of the population, six years previously.
In 2014-15, it said that 19 million people were living on less than the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) which is for a single person renting a flat outside London is said to need to earn at least £17,300 a year to reach the MIS. For a working couple with two children, living in social housing, each of the individuals need to earn £18,900 a year.
The price of a minimum basket of goods had risen by up to 30% since 2008, while average earnings had risen by half that amount. However, more recent figures suggest that wages have been rising faster than inflation for more than two years. Average weekly earnings have risen faster than CPI inflation , every month since October 2014 according to the Office for National Statistics. But many expect wages to fall below inflation again in the months ahead.
"This could be a very difficult time for just-managing families as rising inflation begins to bite into finely-balanced budgets," said Campbell Robb, the new chief executive of the JRF. "The high cost of living has already helped push four million more people below an adequate income...”