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Living standards fall in UK, study says

LONDON — Poor families in Britain are struggling to provide basics for their children as the cost of living rises faster than wages and benefits, research released by a charity Monday suggested.

The cost of raising a child during the first 18 years of life rose 4 percent to about $230,400 last year, while average earnings rose 1.5 percent and safety net benefits rose 1 percent, according to the report from the Child Poverty Action Group.

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‘‘This research paints a stark picture of families being squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages, yet receiving ever-diminishing support from the government over the course of the last year,’’ said Alison Garnham, the group’s chief executive. ‘‘Every parent knows it’s getting harder to pay for the essentials their children need, and they don’t feel like politicians see them as a priority.’’

The report comes as Britain’s coalition government, elected in 2010, imposes tough austerity measures to reduce the nation’s budget deficit. Those programs include limiting benefit increases to 1 percent annually for three years, forcing many low-income residents to pay local council tax for the first time, and a new fee for public housing tenants with spare bedrooms.

George Osborne, Treasury chief, has acknowledged that the recovery is taking ‘‘longer than anyone hoped’’ but says that tackling the deficit will be better for the country in the long run despite the short- term pain.

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