Netmums says families in financial crisis

Netmums says families in financial crisis

The economic downturn, the rising cost of living and the government’s austerity programme have pushed over 70 per cent of UK families to the brink of poverty, according to online parenting organisation Netmums.

The organisation surveyed over 2,000 of its members this month to find out how they are coping in the economic downturn and the findings are startling.

Twenty per cent of mums are regularly forced to skip meals to make sure their children have enough food, 25 per cent of families are living on credit cards, 5 per cent are using payday loans and 1 per cent have been forced to take money from loan sharks or illegal lenders.

The study revealed that 64 per cent of families have suffered a fall in income over the last year.

Struggling families are having to sell or pawn their belongings to find money for essentials and 16 per cent of parents have developed stress-related illnesses as a result of financial worries.

The situation has become so desperate that 33 per cent of respondents to the survey said they felt suicidal and unable to cope.

With incomes so stretched, parents are becoming socially isolated as they are unable to afford to go out with their friends and are even having to stop their children attending friend’s parties in order to avoid buying gifts.

Netmums founder Sally Russell said: “It’s shocking that seven in 10 families in the UK today are living on the edge of existence - but it’s a crisis that needs exposing.

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

“Family finances are so strained that any more pressure will turn this personal crisis into a catastrophe for the nation.”

Netmums findings follow a survey by the Halifax which found that UK households remain among the most indebted in the world.

The average UK consumer starts to struggle to make ends meet just 17 days after receiving their monthly pay, according to the Halifax and UK families owe an average of £7,900 on personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards.

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