Seven in 10 families on financial brink

Neil Puffett
Thursday, February 16, 2012

More than 70 per cent of families are on the edge of financial meltdown, a survey by parenting site Netmums has found.

Financial hardship: quarter of families living on credit cards. Image: Arlen Connelly
Financial hardship: quarter of families living on credit cards. Image: Arlen Connelly

The survey of more than 2,000 mothers, carried out this month, found that one in five mums is missing meals so her children can eat.

Meanwhile, a quarter of families are living on credit cards, five per cent take payday loans and one in 100 has turned to loan sharks to stay afloat.

It also revealed that almost half of families have sold or pawned goods to make money to live and 16 per cent of parents are being treated for a stress-related illness due to a lack of cash.

"It’s shocking that seven in 10 families in the UK today are living on the edge, feeling there is little more they can do to make ends meet and fearful of the future," Netmums founder Sally Russell said.

"Mums shouldn’t be missing meals to feed their children or turning to loan sharks in modern Britain. 

"It is essential that we all work together to support families that are struggling. It is also critical that the government steps up to make sure that there is support for the very poorest, but also recognise that its policies need to be able to support a much wider group of families."

The Department for Work and Pensions said welfare reforms will have a "dynamic impact" on some of the poorest families and will lift more than one million people out of poverty.

"We continue to support low-income families and put £6.5bn a year into financial support for lone parents, but we know that debt remains a real driver of poverty," a spokesman said.

"This is why we need credit unions to be supported and strengthened to ensure that illegal loan sharks can't plague the homes of vulnerable people and offer a real alternative to doorstep and payday lenders.

"We are working on the best ways to help credit unions expand and modernise so that more families can have access to affordable credit."

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