One in 10 parents and carers said they ran out of money before the end of the month, while more than half of young people said they worried about how much money their family had, according to a new survey from The Children’s Society.
The research, concerning the early part of this year, has been described as a “hard-hitting” report on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on family life.
The Children’s Society’s 2023 household survey between May and June collected responses from a sample of over 2,000 children aged between 10 to 17 and their parent or carer, from across the UK.
The majority (82%) of parents and carers indicated that they were either “very” or “quite” concerned about the impact of the cost-of-living rises on their family and household over the next 12 months.
Asked how their household had managed financially between January and March, 9% of parents and carers said they had found it “very difficult”.
One in 10 (10%) parents and carers reported “always” running out of money before the end of the month in that period, while 14% ran out of money “most of the time”, the survey found.
When children, aged 10 to 17, were asked how worried they were about how much money their family had, 52% said they “sometimes” worried, while one in five (20%) said they “always” or “often” worried about it.
Mark Russell, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Behind these statistics are real-life stories of families making difficult choices: between heating and eating, between essentials and debt.
“This hard-hitting report shows the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on family life, and the emotional and psychological toll on children across the land. We passionately believe that no child should lose sleep over their family’s finances.
“Every child deserves a good childhood and as we head into the winter, these findings should serve as a wake-up call – we need an urgent government plan to lift families out of poverty.”
The organisation is calling for more investment in social security for children, an essentials guarantee to ensure families can afford basic needs, free school meals expansion to children whose parents or carers receive Universal Credit and the Household Support Fund, which is running until March 2024, to be made permanent “as a safety net whenever families are faced with a financial crisis”.
Meanwhile, a separate report into young carers is calling for better help, stating that they face a “postcode lottery of support”.
An inquiry by an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) said some 15,000 children, including 3,000 aged five to nine-years-old, spent 50 hours or more a week looking after family members because of illness, disability or addiction.
The report called for the urgent introduction of a cross-government national carers strategy, as well as plans to improve early identification of young carers, better access to support and a reduction in the numbers of young people providing excessive levels of care.
He said: “It’s up to all of us to give these young people a better start in life so we also need local authorities, health providers, schools, employers, and regulators to join in and help young carers.”
On Tuesday, when the report was published, young carers were due to hand an open letter to Downing Street, demanding Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did more to help.
Carers Trust chief executive Kirsty McHugh said: “This damning report, supported by Carers Trust, should be a wake-up call that young carers are being horribly let down by the system.
“They are facing huge disadvantages when it comes to education, job prospects and well-being, all because they put their loved ones first. As the social care system struggles to cope with demand, these young people are having to fill the gaps.”