An average single Brit needs to earn a minimum of £13,400 a year to afford a basic standard of living. New research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines that this income should be able to cover needs such as food and warmth, as well as the occasional treats such as going to the cinema or a simple meal out.

They report that the a single person without children would be spending £158 a week. A couple with two children needed £370 a week which equates to £26,800 a year.

Researchers also claim that families without a working adult received about two thirds of the minimum budget in state benefits. And single people who are not in employment received less than half of the minimum budget in benefits. For those that are retired, the basic pension can only offer about three quarters of what is the research defines as minimum income, the rest has to be topped up by means-tested Pension Credit.

Although the research might be criticised for offering too high a benchmark for the minimum standard cost of living, as it is much higher than what the official government class line of poverty. But as one of the panellists said: “Food and shelter keeps you alive, it doesn’t make you live”, and another that it is “About having what you need in order to have the opportunities and choices necessary to participate in society.” Those which were defined as being in poverty has an income which was too low to pay for this desired standard of living.

Julia Unwin, director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “This research is designed to encourage debate and to start building a public consensus about what level of income no one should have to live below. Of course, everyone has their own views about what items in a family budget are essential. But this is the best effort to date to enable ordinary people to discuss and agree what all households should be able to afford.”

Living Costs mean that Debt Levels may Rise

If the report reflect the true cost of living, which is much higher than the bar which is set by the Government, this could mean that Brits are going to have to tighten their belts now or watch their debt problems spiral out of control.