Skip to main content
Social security

Households below a Minimum Income Standard: 2008/09 – 2015/16

This is the sixth in a series of reports monitoring the number of people in the UK living below an adequate standard of living.

Written by:
Donald Hirsch, Dr Laura Valadez and Matt Padley
Date published:

This report looks at changes in the adequacy of people’s incomes, measured by their ability to reach the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). This measure is based on what members of the public think people need for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

The report:

  • looks in detail at the family and household characteristics of those below MIS
  • focuses in particular on three demographic groups – children, working-age adults and pensioners – exploring how they have fared between 2008/09 and 2015/16.

It recommends the following actions:

  • As the cost of achieving a minimum standard of living increases with inflation, the Government must ensure that Universal Credit and other support for families is uprated at least in line with prices, ending the benefits freeze.
  • The Government must allow families receiving in-work benefits to keep more of what they earn, so that increases in the National Living Wage are not clawed back through reductions in Universal Credit and other support.
  • As pensioner costs also increase, pensioner benefits should continue to be uprated at least in line with prices, and should continue to keep pace with increases in earnings over the long term.

New analysis, presented in our new Slideshare from JRF and Loughborough University, shows how the public policy decisions of recent years mean more money in the pockets of some families, while others are hit hard.