British benefit cuts to hit single parents hardest

London, Sep 7 (IANS) Single parents with low income are set to face declining living standards over the next five years even if they work full time, following benefit cuts announced in the July budget, a new analysis revealed on Monday.

A comprehensive analysis of the impact of the budget, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), identifies single parent families as one of the groups to be hit hardest by the package of changes announced on July 8, The Guardian reported.

The main focus of the summer budget was the introduction of a national living wage – a sharp increase in the statutory minimum wage for over-25s, from the 6.70 pounds ($10.22) an hour rate that will apply from next month to 7.20 pounds ($10.98) in January and 40 percent of the median wage by 2020 – expected to be over 9 pounds ($13).

The research confirmed that for many low-paid workers, the pay rise will leave them no better off, because of other changes announced as it seeks to save 12 billion pounds ($18 billion) from the welfare budget over the next four years.

“The summer budget has transformed the relationship between pay, benefits and work incentives. Lone parents, even those working full time, face sharply declining living standards,” Julia Unwin, JRF’s chief executive said.

Even families in which both parents are in a minimum wage job will find it harder to afford a decent standard of living by 2020, the report finds, unless both work full time – a pattern which only applies to 6 percent of low income families, the research added.

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