Tough times for low earners

Church Action on Poverty is appealing to churches in the UK to support the campaign for a living wage for all.

The charity’s call comes as the latest figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Minimum Income Standard reveal that the recession and austerity measures are significantly impacting people on low incomes.

The findings show that people need to earn far higher than the current minimum wage of £6.08 an hour to survive.

The foundation says that a couple with two children now needs to earn £36,800 a year to achieve the minimum income standard, £5,000 more than in 2008, while single people need to earn £16,400 a year.

It also found that a quarter of the UK’s population was living below the minimum income standard, up three million on 2008 figures.

Soaring transport and childcare costs are combining with stagnating incomes and cuts to tax credits to make life harder for families.

CAP is calling upon employers to pay a living wage of at least £7.60 an hour and it is asking churches to lead the way.

Church Action on Poverty’s Alan Thornton commented: “These figures show just how hard the most vulnerable people have been hit by the recession and austerity in the UK. People who are working hard on the Minimum Wage are still unable to feed their families or heat their homes properly.

“To prevent further people falling into poverty, we urgently need to ensure a Living Wage for all. We urge all churches to ensure that they pay a Living Wage – and then to speak out for Fair Pay for everyone in society.”