A new report has suggested that almost 2.5 million children in the UK are living in families which are struggling with debt. As this represents almost 20% of all children under eighteen in the country, this figure is one which should be taken seriously, as debt-stricken families sometimes have to make spending decisions which affect a child’s health, let alone the obvious problems of a child living in such a stressful environment. The average household debt was £3,437, a large enough sum to create tension in the home and have a knock-on effect on the children living there. On top of this figure, another estimated 2.9 million households are on the brink of financial difficulties – in other words, they are managing at the moment but would only need a minor change in circumstances to cause them to lose their precarious grip on financial stability.
How it affects the children
When families are resorting to payday loans and similar ‘quick fixes’ to buy essentials such as food, children are usually having to do without things which they find important and which give them standing with their peers, such as mobile phones. Although of course possessions are not everything, children do face bullying if they don’t have the same things that their friends do and around 20% of the children interviewed said that they have faced bullying behaviour. Children often worry without knowing quite why – they pick up on tensions in the home and many lose sleep and fall behind at school.
‘Breathing space’ is needed
Children’s and debt charities have called for special measures to be put in place for when children are involved in difficult financial situations, including putting in place an extended period of protection from default charges and enforcement action, in an attempt to shield children from the problems which come about when a family is evicted or bailiffs are called in. Rules laid out by the Lending Standards Board and Financial Conduct Authority do mean that lenders cannot act outside certain parameters, but these can be confusing to the general public and can certainly cause more worry to those who are in financial hardship, who may unintentionally misunderstand. Priority creditors are always dealt with first and these are the ones that affect children the most, such as power, rent or mortgage and TV licence.
For anyone struggling with financial problems, it is sometimes hard to bring themselves to share, but a call to Dissolve Debt can help to put everything into perspective. Depending on a variety of situations, such as family makeup, amount of debt and income, there are a number of solutions to help put people back on the road to financial security. Calling Dissolve Debt today on 0800 0122 111 from a landline or 0161 926 7670 (a cheaper number if you are calling from a mobile) can help sort out finances so instead of worrying, you can start enjoying life with your family again.