• Work does not pay for many British women says Commission of Living Standards

By Hugo Duncan


The soaring cost of childcare means millions of families face two decades of stagnant living standards, a landmark report warns today.

The Commission on Living Standards says that even if the economy recovers, around a third of the working age population – some 11million people – will be no better off in 2020 than they were in 2000.

Among the worst hit are mothers because the cost of childcare is so high they cannot afford to go back to work.

No improvement: Older workers are one of the groups who are likely to suffer no rise in living standards

No improvement: Older workers are one of the groups who are likely to suffer a decline or stagnation in living standards until 2020

Older workers and youngsters without qualifications also face an uncertain future as they struggle to make ends meet.

The report says: 'Millions of households are heading for a long period of stagnant living standards.

'The outlook for the bottom half of the working population is bleak even once growth returns.'

The Commission, set up by the Resolution Foundation in early 2010, warns that many women with children cannot afford to go back to work.

No benefit: Work does not pay for many women in Britain, says Commission on Living Standards

No benefit: Work does not pay for many women in Britain, says Commission on Living Standards

It shows that a full-time second earner with two young children in a typical middle income household on a salary of 19,550 keeps just 1,060 a year after childcare costs, taxes and lost benefits. That is only 20 a week.

In a worst-case example, a family with one parent on the minimum wage and a second earner returning to work full-time on the same salary would be left with only 211 a year – 4 a week – from the second parent's wage after childcare costs and loss of tax credits were taken into account.

'Work simply does not pay for many women in modern Britain,' says the report.

Vidhya Alakeson, deputy chief executive of the foundation, said: 'We need major change in our childcare system to ensure that work is always worthwhile – and that working more hours or a pay rise results in higher take home pay.'

The comments below have not been moderated.

But the rich and those on benefits (from anywhere in the world) will be OK

This is a direct result of decades of tax payer subsidised wages in the UK. While so few jobs pay a real 'cost of living' wage, people will always be susceptible to changes in welfare. It's time for the UK to adopt share schemes for the real wealth creators of every business: those who actually produce/provide whatever it is the business sells. OK, so it's not going to cure this problem overnight, but it's a realistic start as people will effectively be earning income (dividends) without the business having to pay out more each week/month. The incentive to do the best possible job is obvious, as is the resulting peer pressure on everyone's working group...that's to say: Would you put up with a shirker/bully/dunce in your workplace if YOUR end of year pay is threatened by their actions? i know i wouldn't. At the moment we just wait for the boss to fire the waster, this way we can get to vote him/her out. to see working example of workplace democracy see Brazilian company called Semco.

In three years we will have students with over 27K of debt, the question is will they stay and repay it where living standards are not getting better. Or will they take these skills overseas where they can get a living wage and have a family?

I think the minimum wage is the problem, these days you dont see many jobs above minimum wage some jobs which use to pay more such as lorry driving are paid min wage because thats all the gov says they have to pay. Its an employers market out there so they only pay what the have to by law. Agency work i think also plays a part in keeping wages down but the do get paid a better rate than the person doing the job. Minimum wage should be raised so that when you are in work you dont need tax credits child benifit or housing benifit, this would save the tax payer a fortune and cut back on the huge profits we see companies making.

Give tax breaks to married couples and married couples with children. Many other countries do this and it encourages responsible parenting!

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