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Parents finding it ‘harder to pay for the essentials’ as childcare costs rise

Article By: Laura McCardle, News Editor

Research published this morning has revealed that parents are struggling to pay for “the essentials their children need” as childcare costs rise by 5.9 per cent, and experts are blaming a lack of Government support.

‘Costs of a child 2013’, published by Child Poverty Action Group and co-funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, also reveals that the minimum cost of raising a child to the age of 18 has risen to £148,000, while wages and safety net benefits for families with children remain fairly stagnant, increasing by just 1.8 per cent and 1 per cent.

Researchers, who carried out the study at Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy, also found that the value of both child benefit and child tax credit relative to the costs of raising a child has decreased in the last year.

Commenting on the findings of the research, Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “This research paints a stark picture of families being squeezed by rising prices and stagnant wages, yet receiving ever-diminishing support from the Government over the course of the last year.

“Every parent knows it’s getting harder to pay for the essentials their children need, and they don’t feel like politicians see them as a priority. Child benefit and child tax credit have been cut at the very time families need them most. Families are getting worse off and parents know it.

“If every child in Britain can grow up healthy, well-educated and an active participant in their community, we all benefit from a more prosperous economy. This was well understood by the post-war generation who prioritised universal benefits for all children despite being much deeper in debt than we are today.”

Katie Schmuecker, policy and research manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, added: “This research looks at how much it costs to give their children a standard of living that the public think is the minimum acceptable. The task of making ends meet for families with children has always been hard, but it is getting harder, and balancing family budgets has become a perilous and delicate act for hard-pressed parents.

“Flat lining wages, cuts to benefits and tax credits and the rising cost of essentials is creating a growing gap between income and needs. “The next election is likely to be the first since the 1930s where living standards are lower than the last poll. All parties must go to the country with policies and a commitment to help the prospects of low-income families.”

To read the full report, visit


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