Falling short: the experiences of families below the Minimum Income Standard
More than one in three families in the UK now have incomes below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), a benchmark based on what the public agrees a household needs as a minimum to live on.
Their incomes are reckoned to be too low to allow the choices and opportunities required to participate fully in society. This report considers how:
- families need stability, but this is undermined by irregular employment and hours, changes in benefits and tax credits, and insecurity in private rented housing;
- coping on a low income involves constant monitoring of budgets, hard work and discipline, and how the stress of trying to keep on top of finances is emotionally draining;
- parents prioritise meeting their children’s needs and sacrifice their own.
The study comprised in-depth interviews with 30 families on low incomes. A mix of lone parents and couples, in and out of work, were interviewed.