The figure represents a rise of four per cent in a single year, says the charity. Meanwhile, benefits available to families with children rose by just one per cent over the same period, and average earnings by just 1.5 per cent. The national minimum wage went up by just 1.8 per cent.
Child benefit was frozen, and as a result its value has dropped in relation to the costs of bringing up a child. The value of child tax credits has similarly fallen.
The report also highlights increased liability for council tax among non-working families, cuts to housing benefit via the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ and a continuing rise in childcare costs, which have increased by almost six per cent over the last year.
As a result of these pressures, people earning the minimum wage now typically earn less than 90 per cent of the money needed to meet the cost of living. Families dependent on benefits receive less than 60 per cent.
Child Poverty Action Group Chief Executive Alison Garnham said:
“This research paints a stark picture of families being squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages, yet receiving ever-diminishing support from the government over the course of the last year. Every parent knows it’s getting harder to pay for the essentials their children need, and they don’t feel like politicians see them as a priority.”
The research was carried out by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, and co-funded by the social policy charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Foundation’s Policy and Research Manager Katie Schmuecker explained:
“This research looks at how much it costs parents to give their children a standard of living that the public think is the minimum acceptable. The task of making ends meet for families with children has always been hard, but is getting harder, and balancing family budgets has become a perilous and delicate act for hard-pressed parents. Flat-lining wages, cuts to benefits and tax credits and the rising cost of essentials is creating a growing gap between income and needs.”