Report into low-income families shows how many are struggling ‘Getting By’

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, is set to launch a major new report into poverty, exploring the plight of working families in the city.

The report: “Getting By? A Year in the Life of 30 Working Families in Liverpool” takes the form of first-person testimonies from families with at least one parent in low-paid employment.

Despite being in work, they still struggle to get by on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). This is the level deemed necessary to achieve an acceptable basic standard of living, once wages, tax credits and in-work benefits are factored-in.

The report explores how poverty, job insecurity, debt and low wages combine to impact on their personal relationships and family life, as they struggle to navigate the cost of living crisis.

Researchers followed the families’ progress over a 12-month period, through weekly spending diaries tracking their income and expenditure, followed-up by detailed face-to-face interviews.

‘Getting By?’ is modelled on Edwardian social reformer Beatrice Webb’s landmark Minority Report as part of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws and Relief of Distress in 1909, which argued that the poor were not the architects of their plight.

The 164-page report will be officially launched at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty on Tuesday March 24.

WATCH: Actors bring to life the contributions made by people interviewed for Getting By:

Welcoming the publication of ‘Getting By?’ the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The report is all the more eloquent and compelling becomes it comes out of the mouths of those directly affected.

“It is simply heart-breaking and maddening that so many people are struggling to get by like this. It isn’t their fault. These are proud working people, not ‘scroungers’. They are getting up for work every day so they can set an example to their kids.”

Mayor Anderson added: “‘Getting By?’ is a call to action and requires all politicians to focus on alleviating the pressures on working families. We hear talk about ‘making work pay’ but here we have tale after tale about how that just isn’t happening.”

He added: “Liverpool is grappling with a 58 per cent cut to our government grant between 2010 and 2017 so we’re left dealing with a yawning gap and we simply don’t have the tools to deal with such deep-seated problems.

“While we are offering practical support to food banks and charities through initiatives like the Mayoral Hope Fund, what the working poor in my city need is real hope. Hope that there’s an alternative to endless, grinding austerity.”

Councillor Frank Hont, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Fairness & Equalities, echoed the call: “Liverpool is the second worst-hit city in terms of the Bedroom Tax. People here are telling us in their own words how hard their lives have become struggling with austerity cuts, low wages and workplace insecurity. It’s a toxic mix and it puts unbelievable – and unfair – stresses and strains on family life.”

He added: “Back in 1975, 15 per cent of workers were in low paid employment, now it’s 22 per cent. If we’re serious about supporting families who are struggling to balance work and family life, then the politicians need to read – and heed – this report.”

A link to the executive Summary and Full Report can be found here