By Jonathan Davies
Jobseekers are facing "a decade of sharply declining living standards" as a result of changes to benefits, an anti-poverty campaign group has said.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) claims that an unemployed couple with two children will be £221 short of what is required to maintain an acceptable standard of living every week, by 2020.
However, based on JRF's estimations, pensioners, families with two full-time working parents, and employees without children are likely to become better off over the next five years.
Single parents and families with more than two children are among those likely to see living standards fall, JRF said.
"The summer Budget has transformed the relationship between pay, benefits and work incentives. The National Living Wage is a game changer for some on low incomes as the new, higher rate will make work pay for more people," said Julia Unwin, the JRF's chief executive.
"But the wage rise comes hand in hand with changes to in and out of work benefits. Families will only be able to make ends meet if they have two parents in full-time work, but those who are able to find extra work will face a difficult juggling act as they try and make longer hours fit around family life.
"Lone parents, even those working full time, and people who are searching for work face a decade of sharply declining living standards."
The figures are considerably larger than those suggested by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS). Following the changes announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in the Budget in July, the IFS said the tax and benefit changes would see 13 million families lose around £260 a year.