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Families need nearly £25k a year just to break even

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British families are struggling to break even every year, as many need nearly £25,000 just to cover the basics, according to a new report.

The average British family now needs to bring home a staggering £24,801.51 a year – just to break even, highlights financial advisory firm Skipton Financial Services.

This figure is up £129.35 from last year’s cost of living, and consists of mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance, food shopping and motoring, plus the cost of dressing the family, owning a mobile phone and landline, travelling to and from work and maintaining a property.

Luxuries like takeaways, restaurant meals, night outs and holidays and weekend breaks are all excluded from this list.

Andrew Barker, managing director of Skipton Financial Services, said: “When we first carried out this research last year, we knew that people were feeling the pinch, with inflation riding high at 5% and savings accounts paying rock-bottom rates.

“However even we were surprised that families needed to bring home almost £25,000 just to stand still. Unfortunately, despite inflation now nearer to the Government’s 2% target, many families are still in exactly the same position as a year ago, with almost 60% saying they have less disposable income than last year. 

“Don’t forget that £24,801.51 is the figure UK families need to bring home so, once income tax and national insurance has been taken into account, a basic rate taxpayer would actually have to earn well over £30,000.”


The study, which analysed the spending habits of 2,000 UK parents with at least two children living under the same roof, found the following to be the biggest costs:

• Mortgage repayments which average £4,515 a year – down £215 from last year.

• The weekly food shop total isn’t far behind – averaging £86 a week or £4,491 a year – up £33.

• Paying off credit card bills and loans make up another £2,906 a year – down £225.

• Commuting to and from work adds another £2,672 strain on a family’s finances – up £216.

• Filling up the car with petrol comes to £51 a week, or £2,668 a year – up £215. Other car costs include an average £931 spent on car insurance, taxing the vehicle and roadside assistance – down £17.

• Utility bills emerged as £1,283 for the year – the same as in 2011.

• Another £1,178 goes on council tax – down £39.

• The cost of Sky or cable TV subscriptions plus the TV licence total £654 – up £77.

• Other payments which have gone up over the past year include home insurance (up £11 to £443 a year) and mobile phone bills (up £27 to £395 a year).


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