Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Needs and luxuries: what are they??

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Really interesting work by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the minimum needed for a decent life in the UK, where the standard of living is acceptable and people are able to participate in society. It shows, not surprisingly, that we need to do much more to raise the income of those on the lowest levels, with the BBC website saying:

'According to the calculations, a single person working full-time would need to earn £6.88 an hour to reach the weekly minimum standard - which is more than the current statutory minimum wage of £5.52.

A single person on Income Support would get less than half this amount.

An out-of-work family would get in state benefits two-thirds of what the JRF regarded as the minimum requirement, but pensioners on Pension Credit reached an acceptable level of income, the charity said.'

All this at a time when the gap between lowest and highest incomes is high and growing - under a Labour Govt! There are more rich and super-rich people than ever. I'm certainly in favour of raising the minimum wage and I'd like to see wealth radically redistributed by taxing the wealthiest more. This is fair and just. I'm for meeting everyone's needs, a key pillar of sustainability, putting needs before wants and for narrowing the income gap and so the Joseph Rowntree Foundation work is of real interest. I'd also like to see us measuring poverty in a different way, not least because of the outcome of this research which seems to establish what a decent life is in a much more rounded way. Interesting that it concluded that a car was not a necessity unless living in a rural area.