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Charity: We cannot allow children to pay price of debt

The Children's Society has warned of the dangers of ignoring the emotional impact family debt has on children.

Chief executive Matthew Reed said:

Families are increasingly relying on debt as a way to make ends meet - but we're in danger of ignoring the impact this is having on children now and in the future.

We cannot allow children to pay the price of debt.

Poor families need 'somewhere to turn'

Poor families facing financial difficulties need "somewhere to turn" other than to unethical and predatory lenders, a leading figure in the Church of England has said.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, gave his backing to a report into UK household debt and the distress it causes children:

When the monthly struggle to pay the bills becomes too much, often families think they have no option but to borrow money to provide the basics for their children,.

We need to make sure families living in poverty have somewhere to turn other than to usury-lenders.

– Dr John Sentamu

'18% of households with children' struggling with debt

One in five (18%) of UK households with children are faced with "problem" debt, according to a survey from two leading charities.

The Children's Society and StepChange debt charity also found:

  • On average these households owe £3,437, or an estimated £4.8 billion to creditors and the Government.
  • An estimated 2.4m children are living under "problem" debt.
  • A further 2.9 million households with dependent children are struggling to keep up with payments on household bills or credit over the past year.
  • Almost 18% of 10 to 17-year-olds who took part in the survey had been bullied because of the financial troubles their family faced.
  • Over half of the children researchers spoke to said they were embarrassed by their lack of money.
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