Soaring energy costs and rising food and fuel prices are set to put an extra burden on families’ budgets over the school holidays, which begin this week with more parents being forced to turn to borrowing to make ends meet over the summer according to new research by StepChange.
The research shows that parents are feeling additional pressure this year as the school holidays approach, and are worried that they will fall into financial difficulty as they juggle paying for childcare, food, entertainment and holidays amid the cost of living crisis.
Over a third of parents (37%) with children aged 18 and under are worried that their finances will suffer during the school summer holidays due to additional cost pressures. This rises to nearly half (46%) of parents with primary school children (aged 5-11) and to over half (51%) of parents in receipt of Universal Credit.
Many parents are expecting to borrow more and use savings in order to afford essentials this summer. Around 1 in 5 parents (22%) will be using savings or other assets to pay for their everyday expenses. Parents on Universal Credit are more than twice as likely as other parents to use credit or ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes to cover their essential spending (28% versus 12% respectively).
The polling shows a significant number of parents also expect they will have to sell personal or household items to make ends meet this summer – 19% of all parents said they will do this, with this figure almost doubling for parents on Universal Credit (35%).
Price rises have meant fewer parents will take their children on holiday this year, with 16% of parents stating that they usually take their children away but will not be able to afford to this summer – this rises to 19% of parents with children aged 12-16 and almost a quarter (23%) of parents on Universal Credit.
The polling reveals how many parents rely on family and friends to look after their children. Almost a quarter of parents (23%) with young children aged 5-11 will be getting help with childcare from relatives and friends over the summer holidays.