Low income working households are $12 a week worse off than they were a year ago and are struggling to keep pace with increases in housing and utility costs, a report by the Western Australian Council for Social Service finds.
The report looked at the cost of living in WA and found wages were failing to keep up with increases in prices across the board with rent, gas, water and electricity hikes pushing more and people into financial stress.
Based on a theoretical family of four relying on the minimum wage the report found that while wages had risen $31 a week in 2010-11, the cost of key expenses increased by $43 a week, leaving the family $12 a week or $624 a year worse off.
“Low and fixed income households are particularly vulnerable to rising cost pressures,” the report said.
It said people on low incomes were more likely to have to make tough choices between essentials such as rent, utilities and food and may be forced to forego social and recreational activities.
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