Thousands of children in the region in families in debt

Thousands of children live in families in debt Credit: PA

New research from the Children's Society shows that hundreds of thousands of children in the North West are growing up in families struggling with debt.

The report indicates that more than 387,000 children in the region are living in 224,000 families trapped in problem debt, falling behind with credit payments or household bills.

The charity says that this means that a quarter of families with children in the region have been failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments in the past year.

And they say this can result in children going without basics such as food, clothing or heating, as well as suffering worry, anxiety and bullying.

The Children's Society is publishing a draft of a parliamentary Bill to introduce a 12-month 'breathing space' scheme to give families struggling with debt a period of protection from additional charges, mounting interest and enforcement action while they seek advice, put their finances in order, and get back on their feet.

Again and again we have raised the urgent problem of families who are trapped by debt, and whose children often pay the price with their mental and physical health.

With unfair and unsustainable repayment plans, hidden charges, soaring interest, visits from intimidating bailiffs and the fear of eviction, the odds are stacked against parents who are desperate to find a way out of their debt. Meanwhile mums and dads are being forced to make impossible decisions between feeding and clothing their children, and paying the bills.

It is now absolutely clear that this problem is not going away unless the Government takes action to give families the breathing space they need to get their finances back on track. Acting now could have a hugely beneficial impact, not just on family finances in the short term but on the futures of some of the country's most vulnerable children.

– Rob Jackson, North West Area Director at The Children's Society