Experts have warned families with children are facing a significant crunch in their household budgets amid the rising cost of essentials like food and fuel.
New research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) by Loughborough University has revealed that families with children are facing £400 extra costs in their budgets each month.
The family budgets were calculated using the minimum income standard (MIS), which is based on items the public think are needed to achieve an "acceptable" standard of living.
Pressures on those budgets are being driven by doubling fuel costs, food inflation hitting 9.3%, and childcare increases reaching 6.7%.
The foundation says the average family each month is spending an extra £120 per month on energy, £90 on transport including petrol and £65 on childcare.
It comes after the experts warn Brits on the lowest incomes are facing inflation at 10.2% due to spending a higher proportion of their income on food and fuel.
Watch: You'll have to wait for more cost of living help, says Boris Johnson
Peter Matejic, deputy director of evidence and impact at JRF, said the poorest families have "no escape" from soaring costs.
“The symptoms of these astonishing price rises can be seen in the shops and they can be seen in people rationing showers to once a week, giving up milk in their tea and eating cold meals to avoid using the oven," said Matejic.
"The cause is not simply rising prices – it is the growing gap between what social security provides and the income needed to reach an acceptable standard of living."
He added: “The chancellor needs to recognise the urgency of this situation and realise that he really does have the power to protect the worst off from being pulled under.
"This cost of living crisis is being keenly felt, and will get worse without decisive action.
"The government has the power and can choose to use the benefits system to uprate in line with inflation, ensuring that nobody falls below an income that allows them to afford the basics for themselves and their family”.
Matt Padley, associate director and senior research fellow at the centre for research in social policy at Loughborough University, said there has been a "dramatic increase" in cost for the poorest families to "participate in our society".
“Particularly stark is the increase in the cost of home energy and this is set to rise even further later in the year," said Padley.
"As a consequence of these increases, lots of households will have to cut back, making difficult choices about what to go without, and which of their needs to prioritise.
“Households in the UK in 2022 shouldn't have to make these sorts of decisions."
Labour has criticised the government for not doing more to help with the cost of living, and called for a windfall tax to fund more energy bills support.
After months of the government defending existing support, on Monday Boris Johnson indicated that help was one the way - but said the public "have to wait a little bit longer".
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