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Families on minimum wage '£49 a week short of an acceptable standard of living'

FAMILIES on the minimum wage are £49 a week short of an acceptable standard of living, new research published today has found.

Lone parents and couples raising two children while working full-time on the minimum wage are hardest hit by the weekly shortfall, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) found.

The charity blamed rising prices, benefits and tax credit freezes, the bedroom tax and the roll-out of Universal Credit for hitting family budgets hard.

CPAG head Alison Garnham said: “There is strong public support for government topping up the wages of low-paid parents, and investing in children is the best long-term investment we can make.

“By using the forthcoming budget to unfreeze benefits and restore work allowances, the government can take steps towards making work really pay.”

Gains from increased minimum wages were offset by a freeze in tax credit support, the research said. The overall cost for a couple raising a first child until they are 18, however, fell from £155,100 to £150,800.

A government spokeswoman said fewer are living in absolute poverty today and ministers are committed to giving every child the best chance.

“The employment rate is at a near-record high and the national living wage has delivered the highest pay increase for the lowest paid in 20 years, worth £2,000 extra per year for a full-time worker,” she said.

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