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Minimum Income Standards – UK report

The new 2011 MIS report has been launched today.  

The report, A Minimum Income Standard for the UK in 2011, is available to download from

This report is JRF’s annual update of the ‘minimum income standard’, based on what members of the public think people need to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living. The 2011 figures reflect price increases and the effect of changing tax and benefit rates. 

Key Points

  • A single person needs to earn at least £15,000 a year before tax in 2011, to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living. A couple with a single earner and two children need at least £31,600.
  • Inflation raised minimum household budget costs by around 5 per cent in the year to April 2011, slightly faster than the Government’s main inflation measure, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). Over the past decade, the cost of a ‘minimum’ basket of goods and services has risen by 43 per cent, compared with 27 per cent for CPI.
  • Out-of-work benefits remain well below people’s requirement for a minimum living standard, but pensioners claiming Pension Credit have incomes close to their minimum needs. Over the past three years, benefit levels have deteriorated relative to the income required to meet people’s minimum needs.
  • The rise in personal tax allowances in April 2011 means that for a single person to afford the minimum, the wages required have increased by less than inflation.
  • For families with children, by contrast, the earnings required to make ends meet have risen much faster than living costs, because Child Benefit has been frozen and tax credits reduced for many families. Most importantly, tax credits helping low-income families to cover childcare costs have been cut. Typically, families requiring childcare would have to earn over 20 per cent more in 2011 than in 2010 to meet the shortfall.   

Media Interest

Various articles have been published in newspapers today (Times, FT and Telegraph) and Donald Hirsch was on the Today programme earlier.  This is available on (go to ‘latest programme in full’ at 49:53 minutes).

JRF have also launched a new microsite dedicated to MIS:  This includes a short video explaining what MIS is about. 

Kind regards

The MIS Project Team


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ID: 47515
Publication date: 05/07/11

Created: 11/07/11. Last changed: 11/07/11.
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