COUNTY NEWS: Christmas debt warning for South East parents

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Parents in the South East are facing financial stress this Christmas, with more than half (57 per cent) saying they have previously cut back on spending on themselves to buy Christmas or birthday presents for their children, warns UK charity Action for Children.

The poll of parents from the region shows that more than a third (36 per cent) regularly struggle to make their money last to the end of the month, making the festive season particularly difficult.

Nearly half (47 per cent) have also had to cut back on themselves to afford essentials like food, clothes and transport for their children.

Liz Rowe, operational director at Action for Children, said: “Parents want to give their children a magical Christmas, and this places a lot of pressure on them to spend.

“When so many of the region’s parents already struggle to make their money last with everyday living costs, Christmas can spark a crisis of stress, bills and debt.

“Parents worried about their money situation should seek help now to prepare for Christmas and to avoid the dreaded day in January when the Christmas bills land on the mat.”

Action for Children provides access to money advice and classes at many of its 200 children’s centres in England.

She said: “Seeing how many parents struggle to make their money last from month to month is also a reminder of the difficult financial situation many people face every day with lower real incomes than before the recession.

“Many parents face these challenges simply because they have so little income. The Government must consider the importance of family income and how to maintain it in the wider economic environment.”

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