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Could You Live Decently On £14,400 A Year?

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Well I could (up North) ...

A salary of £14,400 is the minimum a single person needs for an acceptable standard of living, according to research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

That includes not only basics like food and housing, but also the essentials needed to "participate fully in society", the charity says. That means spending on mobile phones, internet access and socialising is included. It puts earners above the official government poverty threshold and is also significantly higher than the amount you would expect to earn on the minimum wage (£5.80 an hour). But is £14,400 really enough to meet our everyday needs?

"My annual salary is exactly £14,400," says Carl Leishman, a 28-year-old call centre worker from County Durham, "and I find it an incredible struggle." After tax, Mr Leishman takes home just under £1,000 a month - barely enough, he says, to cover his costs. "My rental costs are £400 per month, council tax is £120, household bills are £150, and food is £150," he says.

Cutting costs

"Now factor in that I haven't included the loan I have for my car, my car insurance, my car tax, fuel or socialising costs and you get the picture of exactly how far the £180 I supposedly have left each month will get me." In the JRF research, owning a car was not viewed as essential, meaning that motoring costs were not included in its figures. But Mr Leishman says that for many people, having access to car is not a luxury. "Not running a car really isn't an option for me. Travelling to work by public transport would be more expensive and would turn a 12-hour shift into at least a 14-hour day," he says. "But even without car costs, it would still be a struggle. "I'm constantly looking at how to cut my costs. Moving back to live with my parents is something I'm having to seriously consider."

Mr Leishman is not alone. Government figures suggest that about 30% of workers in the UK are paid less than £14,820, subjecting them to similar financial pressures.

Austerity fears

The short-term prospects for the economy suggest that this picture will not improve any time soon, while the government's austerity measures will see the incomes of even the lowest-paid cut by at least 0.5%, according to June's emergency Budget forecast. But despite the recession and the "age of austerity" still to come, the JRF research still shows that people retain their pre-recession expectations for their quality of life. "Members of the public involved in the research have not reduced what they consider necessities," the report points out. "They still believe that, as a minimum, people need not just physical essentials... but also things that allow them to participate in society."

Spending on birthdays and Christmas are not seen as optional, while a week's holiday, even if in the UK, is the minimum expected. That suggests the public might not be as happy about reducing their standard of living as the government might have hoped. "I don't think the public are at all prepared for what is to come," admits David Furness of the Social Market Foundation, an independent think tank. "The public still seems to think we can make the necessary cuts through improving the efficiency of our public services. But the reality is, the standard of public services will drop - and living standards could drop as a result, too. If we're going to rebalance the economy, we can expect some very big shocks."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10537363

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I'm currently on just over £15k a year. I could probably livel more comfortably if I didn't have a car to run.

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I live on £10k a year and have for the last four years.My business makes a lot more than that but i have been re-investing the profits to grow it.The difference is my house is paid for.If i hadnt paid of my mortgage i doubt id have a business now and would be working from one job to the next in a very unstable position.

Housing is the killer as well all know.Social flats / houses used to be around £180 a month around here,now £370.Wages are lower now in real terms.

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Our outgoings all in comes out at around £10k a year, for me, my wife and our daughter.. most other things are what I would call luxuries but apparently some of these are looked upon as necessities like holidays and visits to some attractions.? I am in two minds whether to call our 15 year old car a luxury. Transport and having to own a car to me, is a shady area in regards to it being a necessity or not. I do understand a car is important if you travel more than a few miles to work every day.

I don`t feel the need to go out as much, but then I`m getting long in the tooth. The only reason we do mix / travel a little and see some sights etc etc, is that I know its considered important to broaden our daughters mind. I`m ambiguous about that, as what we don`t know doesn`t hurt us. Family, relationships and feeling needed/valued is what is most important.

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House is bought and paid for so like G&P and Durhamborn - £10K/year would be fairly comfortable for the missus & I. But we don't have a car and the income/savings from the solar panels probably halves our utility bills. Most of our hobbies don't cost very much. Most of the excess cash goes into savings and pension.

At more than the rest of our bills combined, renting was the biggest bill we used to have and were we still paying it managing on £10K would be somewhat harder.

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