People on lower incomes often face higher living costs because they lack the means to shop more efficiently, such as buying groceries in bulk, a report says.
The Poverty Premium report released by Anglicare Australia on Tuesday identifies transport, energy and loans among the areas where those earning less pay more.
As well as being disadvantaged at the checkout, poorer people pay more to travel if they’re forced to live far away from work and the best credit deals are given to people with the healthiest bank balances, the report said.
Many people find themselves in “debt spirals” trying to juggle upfront costs, and in some cases are forced to skip meals, miss medical appointments or avoid getting insurance – which ends up costing them more down the track.
Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the report is a call to action to stop additional weight being placed on the most financially over-burdened.
“Our research shows that it costs more to be poor,” she said.
“These extra costs are a poverty premium, punishing people who are already earning less.”
The report found people on low incomes spend 10 per cent more on fuel for less efficient cars, 45 per cent more on credit and loans, 93 per cent more on groceries and a whopping 142 per cent more on phone data.
“These numbers show us that Australians doing it tough need real action, and real leadership,” Ms Chambers said.
“That means raising the rate of Centrelink payments, making the minimum wage a living wage, and creating cheaper insurance and energy options for people who need them.”
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(Australian Associated Press)