A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2022

The 2022 update of the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) shows that there is a growing gap between what many families on low incomes have and what the public agree households in the UK need, not just to survive but to live with dignity.

The report updates MIS to 2022, with minimum budgets for pensioners and working age households without children recalculated from scratch, and budgets for households with children reviewed and uprated based on inflation. The core of the basket of goods and services that people identify as necessary for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living remains stable, but the cost of many of these essentials has increased dramatically over the past year. These increases have a direct impact on the income needed to reach MIS - the spiralling cost of domestic fuel in particular has had a significant effect on what households need to provide for their minimum needs. This means that the increase in earnings required for an acceptable standard of living in 2022 is the largest year on year increase across all households since the MIS research was first published in 2008.

Costs are increasing at a faster rate than earnings, increasing the pressures on working households and there is a substantial gap between the support provided to out of work households and what these households need. For example, a couple with two children where both adults receive out-of-work benefits, is able to reach only around half (52%) of MIS when factoring in the Government’s cost-of-living support, while a single parent with two children who receives out-of-work benefits can reach 54% of MIS.

Abigail Davis, Co-Director of CRSP, and one of the authors of the latest report said:
"Our report this year captures and reflects the challenging and changing times we are in. The MIS research continues to give us a unique way of observing and tracking the impact of these challenging times on our shared vision of acceptable living standards in the UK

"What is clear this year is that in the face of significant social, economic and political uncertainty, the public’s views on what constitutes an acceptable minimum still emphasise the importance and value of being able to feel part of the world around you. As prices continue to rise well ahead of incomes, the reality is that more and more people are going to be focused on survival – keeping a roof over their heads, putting food on the table, and keeping their homes warm – and will fall well short of reaching this minimum living standard."

The next few years are likely to be very challenging for many households in the UK, with domestic fuel prices set to rise significantly in October 2022, and inflation predicted to remain high for much of 2023. Short-term assistance from the government through the cost-of-living support package does go some way to off-setting rising prices for some of the most vulnerable households, but does nothing to ease the pressure on household budgets beyond this year, and it certainly does not begin to restore the now frayed ‘safety-net’. MIS research continues to establish a threshold below which the public agrees no one should fall; fundamental change is needed to (re)build a system that provides adequate support when and where it is most needed.

Read the full report