Working parents in Britain aren't earning enough to escape poverty according the first annual report on the state of the nation by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.
The report showed that two-thirds of Britain's poor children, compared with less than half in 1997, are now in families where an adult works. It challenged the government to work towards raising the national minimum wage, and said employers should also raise their lowest rates of pay and older people should shoulder a greater burden of fiscal consolidation.
Enver Solomon, Director of Evidence and Impact at the National Children’s Bureau, said the findings should be "a wake up call for all political parties.
"The report rightly demands that all politicians rise to the challenge and set out how they intend to stop us sliding into a world where rich and poor live in parallel worlds and we just accept that some children are destined to lose out by accident of birth," he added.
"There needs to be a fundamental shift, so that tackling the gross inequality and pernicious poverty that exists today is a collective priority for all decision makers. We should aspire to be the best country in the world for every child to live rather than having a lack of ambition that leaves us with a child poverty rate which is twice that of other industrialized nations."
Although theeconomy is growing again, the combination of rising prices and static wages during the downturn means many people have yet to feel any benefit. The decline in living standards has become a key political battleground ahead of the next general election due in 2015.
Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the best way to tackle the issue is to boost employment and cut taxes by reducing government spending.
By contrast Labour are calling for more radical action and recently said they would freeze energy prices for two years if they won the next election.
The social mobility commission said the U.K. has one of the highest rates of low pay in the developed world, with 4.8 million workers, often women, now earning less than the living wage.