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Social security

A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2015

This annual update of MIS is based on what members of the public think people need to achieve a socially acceptable living standard. Do you earn enough? A calculator lets you compare your income to MIS.

Written by:
Donald Hirsch
Date published:

Key findings

  • The cost of the MIS basket of goods and services stayed stable in 2015, as there was no overall inflation.
  • In 2015, single people need to earn at least £17,100 a year before tax to achieve MIS. Couples with two children need to earn at least £20,000 each.
  • Incomes for households on out-of-work benefits rose slightly relative to MIS in the past year. In 2015, an out-of-work single person achieves 40 per cent of what the public says they need.
  • Incomes of those on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) have risen slightly relative to MIS, helped by above-inflation rises in the NMW and an increased personal tax allowance. In 2015, single people on the NMW achieve 70 per cent of what the public says they need.
  • Since 2008, the incomes of households on benefits have fallen substantially relative to MIS, particularly families with children. For lone parents with one child, benefits provide nearly 60 per cent of MIS compared with nearly 70 per cent in 2008. Their shortfall has increased by £44 per week (2015 prices).
  • Since 2008, net incomes of households earning the NMW have also fallen further below MIS. In 2008, families with children came close to MIS if they worked full-time on the NMW, but are now 15 per cent short. For single people, the shortfall has grown from 15 to 30 per cent, or by £27 per week (2015 prices).
  • Prices are projected to start rising again in late 2015; the slight reduction in income shortfalls may prove temporary.

What is MIS?

The Minimum Income Standards (MIS) research asks members of the public what goods and services they think different types of households need to live to an adequate level.

This 2015 update of minimum budgets is based on changes in living costs, and to the tax and benefits system.

The report:

  • shows what incomes different family types require in 2015 to meet MIS;
  • reveals how the cost of a minimum household budget has changed since the last update in 2014; and
  • Compares incomes on benefits and on the National Minimum Wage to MIS, from 2008 to 2015.

Do you earn enough? A calculator lets you compare your income to MIS.