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// University News

12 Aug 2015

Low-income parents facing a squeeze on family finances, Loughborough University report reveals

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Parents working on the minimum wage are struggling to afford basic needs, with the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 remaining high at £149,805.

A new report produced by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) for Child Poverty Action Group reveals that the UK is on the verge of a fresh crisis in family finances with many parents unable to afford what the public regards as a minimum standard of living.

The Cost of a Child 2015 report reveals that families with both parents working full time at the national minimum wage are16% short of the basic amount needed to provide themselves with a minimum standard of living. For a couple with two children, that’s a gap of £75.75 per week.

The report also finds that the minimum cost of raising a child up to 18 years of age remains high at £149,805 (a 1.6% increase on 2014 and a 5% increase since 2012).

It concludes that the high cost of a child is expected to rise less steeply in future years, but state support in covering these costs will deteriorate sharply as a result of government policies, creating a net loss for most low-income families.

The report’s other main findings are as follows:

  • Out-of-work couple families face a 43% shortfall in the basic amount needed to provide themselves with a minimum standard of living. For lone parents, the shortfall is 13% for those in work and 39% for those not working 
  • In the year to 2015, the cost of a child increased to £84.188 over 18 years for a couple – or £149,805 if rent, council tax and childcare are included. For lone parent families – where only one adult can make offsetting savings from their own living expenses – the costs of a child are higher:  £97,576 over 18 years or £167,339 including rent, childcare and council tax. 

Now in its fourth year, The Cost of a Child 2015 draws on what the public says every family requires to meet its basic needs and to participate in society. It examines the costs associated with raising children, and the extent to which parents struggle to meet them even when they are in work.  

Read the full press release for more information.