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In a report issued in July 2016, Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that "Childcare costs remain a major barrier to reaching MIS through working."

"This annual update of JRF’s Minimum Income Standard (MIS) is based on what people think is required for an acceptable living standard, covering material needs and allowing participation in society. It includes new research on families with children. Key points

• Parents identified similar necessities to those in 2012 and 2008. Some were finding more economical ways to meet a minimum standard, with more shopping around and eating out more occasionally. They accepted more restricted housing standards for larger families, influenced by the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.

• Parents think that families should have the choice of childminders or nursery care rather than having to use the cheapest option. They also increased the after-school activities budget. These changes increased families’ MIS cost.

• In 2016, single people need to earn at least £17,100 a year before tax to achieve the MIS, and couples with two children at least £18,900 each.

• Incomes of working-age households receiving out-of-work benefits were far below MIS. Single people could afford 39 per cent of the budget and couples with two children 61 per cent. Lone parents have seen the sharpest fall: from 65 per cent of MIS in 2010 to 56 per cent today. Pensioners have safety-net income around the MIS level.

• The National Living Wage (NLW) plus help with childcare costs through Universal Credit (UC) has improved income relative to MIS for some low-wage families. However, cuts to in-work support for people receiving UC have offset this, particularly for lone parents. Full-time working lone parents on NLW and UC were 18 per cent below MIS, compared with 4 per cent for full-time working couples.

• Childcare costs remain a major barrier to reaching MIS through working. Without them, lone parents would be only 10 per cent and couples would reach the standard.

JULY 2016 The research By a team at the Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University"