Monday, October 17, 2011

The Standard of Living - Part 2

Though a couple both on jobseeker's allowance just about make 40% of the average British household income, a single person doesn't. £67.50 per week is a mere 34% of a single person household's average income. Maybe the single unemployed ought to give up their computers, their link to the outside world, so they can have a healthier diet. Yes, that's what they should do.

But once again the poverty experts make a minimum standard of living sound so luxurious that policy makers are not going to take them seriously.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned a survey of the great British public to ask them what they think people need to reach a minimum standard of living.

You can do the questionnaire here and it basically says that after rent, mortgage interest, council tax, buildings insurance and water charges, a single person needs £163 per week or 82% of average income to maintain a minimum standard of living. A couple would need £259 or 76% of a couple's average income.

The public doing the survey were asked what the minimum should be that nobody should fall below. I don't know whether they were then asked what the level of jobseeker's allowance should be. I doubt it.


  1. Very interesting and worthwhile Geoff.

    I am torn between my initial instinct which is always to take the side of the poorer section of the community, and the certainty that linking happiness to material prosperity is fallacious and harmful.

  2. The amount of consumption seen as essential by those surveyed is obscene. Maybe they should have contacted Joseph Rowntree himself by séance to come up with the figures.