On the agenda: Jamelia on Loose Women; Nebraska; Vincent Simone; luxury hotels for cats; bank of Mum and Dad


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The Independent Culture

Middle-class problems: Bank of Mum and Dad

By Simmy Richman

Last month, David Orr, the chief executive of the National Housing Federation, warned that "the Bank of Mum and Dad will eventually go bust". And you can see his point – with young adults struggling to pay their rent or save for a deposit, the people helping them, their parents, are pretty soon going to feel the strain.

But what are we middle-classes supposed to do? We can't possibly let Olivia sleep rough. We could not look on as Josh starts selling drugs to subsidise his shortfall. No. We are going to help our little darlings in whatever way we can, and if that can't mean money, it can at least mean letting them come to live back at home while they work towards independence.

Enter the Boomerangers – the kids who've left home once, usually to go and study, only to return at the first sign of money becoming too tight to mention.

Student fees, rocketing rents, soaring property prices… It's tough out there, so why not move back into your old room, sit down at the family table and let mummy and daddy get you a nice, cosy ready meal from Waitrose.

In theory, this arrangement should work for everyone. Offspring can contribute what they can, parents get their little angels back where they want them: under their watchful eye.

In practice, it means an awkward conversation about what happens when she (or he) wants to bring a boyfriend home – and a fetid pile of dirty laundry.

Bank of Mum and Dad broke! Boomerang bust! Squatting illegal! What to do? Just don't say that we're going to have to sell the cottage in the Cotswolds.