A DECENT STANDARD OF LIVING: A TRADE-OFF FOR THE POOR

It is in this context that the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) in partnership with the Association of Community-based Advice Offices of South Africa (ACAOSA), has re-launched its Basic Needs Basket (BNB) research project in South Africa in mid- 2014. The Basic Needs Basket is a monthly survey of the cost of essential food and non- food items that comprise the items that a low income family in both rural and urban areas across the nine provinces of South Africa consider to be basic necessities. The BNB project seeks to generate information regarding the impact of price inflation on the spending power on goods and services that are frequently consumed by low income households. It is important to note that the BNB only monitors prices of the most common pack size purchased and not the actual

quantities required for an average sized household. The qualitative approach of the BNB project is concerned mainly with understanding people’s descriptions of their basic everyday needs, in so doing, to attempt to ascertain perceptions of the requirements of a decent level of living. Further to this, the project aims to develop a costed basket of basic needs that is endorsed by a democratic majority of participants. Through the collected data, SPII aims to advocate for government to take the necessary steps to ensure that workers receive fair wages, and social cash transfer beneficiaries receive above inflation increases on their grants in order to afford to live a decent standard of life as well
as meet their basic needs.

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