A couple with two children need £36,000 per year to live comfortably, according to a report into living standards.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said families with children are being dealt a 'triple blow' to their finances in the recession, with government cuts greatly increasing their expenses.
The foundation's report found that the costs of childcare have risen by a third since 2008, and now represent many families' single biggest outgoing.
Meanwhile, bus travel has doubled in price since the late 1990s which, the report says, means families with children now deem a car as an essential for the first time.
Finally, the report criticised cuts to tax credits which mean families must earn more to avoid their living standards dropping.
The report reads: "A couple with two children now needs to earn £36,800 a year (£18,400 each) to achieve the minimum income standard, £5000 more than in 2008, corrected for inflation.
"Single people need to earn £16,400 a year to reach an adequate standard of living, while the figure for a lone parent with one child is £23,900. Pensioner couples need £231.48 a week, which is attainable providing they claim all the support they are entitled to."
The research also found that a quarter of the UK's population live below the minimum income standard, an increase of three million since 2008.
Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "Families have a monumental task trying to earn enough to get by. Parents facing low wages and pressure on their working time have little prospect of finding the extra money they need to meet growing household expenses.
"This year's research shows that a dangerous cocktail of service cuts and stagnating incomes are being keenly felt by parents. Many working people face the risk of sliding into poverty. It illustrates how anti-poverty measures are needed to address not just people’s incomes but also the costs that they face."
Donald Hirsch, co-author of the report, added: "People are being more modest in terms of what they think needs to be spent on participating in society, but this thrift has been outweighed by rising costs.
"Parents have not changed their view of most needs, including a nutritious diet and participation by children in activities vital for social inclusion. What has changed is the ability of many families to afford such essentials."
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