- 3 updates
The Children's Society and StepChange Debt Charity are calling for:
- The development of a 'breathing space' scheme to give struggling families an extended period of protection from additional charges.
- A review as to whether protection for children against harm caused by debt collection - including evictions, bailiffs and court action - is working.
- Provision of earlier and wider access to debt support and advice to help families avoid the downward spiral of debt.
- The imposition of tighter restrictions on advertising loans to children.
The charities say children's lives are affected by debt in a number of ways, including:
- Bullying - children in families with problem debt are more than twice likely to be bullied because they don't have the same things as their peers.
- Worry - more than half of children in families with problem debt say they worry about their family's money situation.
- Going without - nine of out ten families struggling with bills say they have to cut back on essentials like food, clothing or heating in order to keep up repayments.
Almost 150,000 children in Wales are living in families struggling with debt, according to a study published today.
Research from The Children's Society and StepChange Debt found that 86,009 Welsh families are failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments.
The charities say that each struggling family is around £2,058 behind on payments and, across Wales, families owe around £177million in bills and loans.
The study found that a third of families have had to borrow money to pay for essentials for their children in the past year, which can often lead to families falling into what's known as the 'debt trap' or 'debt cycle'.
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Vale of Clwyd has the highest percentage of families in problem debt, while Cardiff North has the lowest, according to the joint research.