By Max Clarke

The cost of living across the UK has edged up by a further 5% whilst for families this figure is as high as 20%, research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today reveals.

A family of 4 would require each parent earning a minimum of £18,400 each to surpass the welfare charity’s minimum threshold.

The news will cast further doubt on the UK recovery as financially squeezed consumers continue to spend less, adding to the woes on the UK high street and further delaying the much needed retail recovery.

"This report shows that the squeeze in living standards caused by the combination of rising prices and stagnant incomes is hitting people on low incomes hard,” said Donald Hirsch from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, author of the report. “This is partly because the prices of certain essentials like food have risen, but also because of policy decisions that have reduced what families have to live on.

“In particular, the reduction in support for childcare has made many low-earning families worse off. In the process, for families who need to use childcare, it has substantially reduced the incentive to work on relatively low pay."

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