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Christmas 'less affordable' for low income families

A new Barnardo’s poll has revealed that more than half of all middle and low income families will struggle financially this Christmas.

Sad Girl

Parents in households that earn up to £25,000 per year, said rising bills, housing costs, benefits cuts and job losses are to blame, in our ‘Cost of a Family Christmas’ poll.

It seems that the majority of parents are trying to protect their children from these concerns, with 83% of those polled saying they would sacrifice some of their own personal expenses to provide their family with a Merry Christmas.

2,070 parents with a child, or children under the age of 18, were polled for this revealing Barnardo’s survey.

Laura is a mother-of-four, who works as a cleaner and uses a Barnardo’s Midland’s service for support with her children. She says the thought of the cost of Christmas this year makes her “feel sick”, adding: “I don’t know how I’m going to pay for the gas to cook dinner - let alone buy presents. I’ll get decorations from the internet free pages, and chip in with my family; anything to give my kids the Christmas they deserve.”

Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan, said: “All year, we’ve heard the country’s economic ‘recovery’ heralded from on high. But the stark reality is that the view from the ground looks very different for many families.  Both poor and middle-income parents tell us that their Christmas finances are in a worse state than they were a year ago.

“Our survey reflects what our services see day in and day out, all year around. No matter how hard they work, low pay and rising household costs are driving parents to cut back on household expenses. Some parents are forced to make harsh choices between heating the home, feeding the family and buying clothes and other essentials. The festive season should be a time for special family celebrations. It is tragic that it has become a matter of dread and personal deprivation for many parents.”

The Government has frozen working and non-working benefits for families below inflation since 2010. At the same time, energy prices continue to rise faster than the overall rate of inflation in the last 12 months, at 4.5 per cent.

Official statistics show there are now 3.7m children living in low income households. Barnardo’s is calling on the UK Government to urgently address the financial constraints squeezing so many families and restore the link between benefits and inflation.

We’re always looking for partners to help us change young lives – if you’d like to find out how your company can help our work with children and families living in poverty please get in touch with Joanna Bronziet.

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