A recent report has uncovered some disturbing statistics which show that many family homes in Northern Ireland are showing serious signs of financial distress, which could lead to major problems over the school holidays as parents struggle to feed and clothe their children.
Combination Of Factors Creating A Perfect Storm
The reasons for this financial distress are a combination of childcare expenses, escalating grocery costs and household bills, along with rising interest rates, which is creating a perfect storm for many families.
The survey by Save The Children revealed that an incredible nine out of 10 low-income parents in Northern Ireland say they are having to cut back on essential spending for themselves this summer in order to provide for their children.
Here are some more figures as copied from an article by Mark Bain in the Belfast Telegraph:
‘The latest research showed that of those polled, almost half (41%) are having to choose between feeding themselves and providing for their children while 91% are cutting back on items such as clothes and energy bills so they can afford activities for their families.
‘Over a quarter of parents (27%) are taking their children on fewer days out this summer and more than half (54%) are worried about their children feeling lonely this summer.’
The Summer Holidays Can Be A Very Challenging Time For Many Parents
In the same article Sinead Campbell, head of money, debt and quality at Advice NI, acknowledged the difficulties faced by households during the summer holidays. She is quoted as saying:
“The summer break can be an incredibly challenging time, particularly for parents,” she said.
“With schools closed and the absence of structured childcare, families often struggle to meet their financial obligations while trying to manage children’s expectations during the summer break.
“With mortgage interest rates rising and some households having to have an extra few hundred pounds just to keep a roof over their heads, we know more people will turn to credit to ease their financial pressure, however this will only add more stress in the longer term.”
All of this is awful news for anyone trapped in a financial situation that is in most cases not of their own making. Until we start to see inflation fall further, interest rates begin to be pegged back and more growth in the economy, it could be a long road ahead for a large proportion of the population of Northern Ireland.