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World News

Christian charity says nearly half of families will have to borrow money to make it through winter

by Donna Birrell

The head of a Christian charity says he’s deeply concerned about the impact of the cost of living crisis on children.

Mark Russell was speaking to Premier as a new survey by The Children’s Society found that almost half of parents and carers (46 per cent) say it’s likely they will need to borrow money over the winter months to pay for essentials such as food and energy.

The research found this figure was even higher for parents and carers who said they were already under financial strain - with 74 per cent saying it was likely that they would have to borrow money for essentials because of rising costs.

Russell said: “It's a really disturbing survey at the time of year when families should be full of joy and preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ and enjoying being with family and friends.

“What we have found from our survey of 2,000 parents and carers is that life is just too hard for too many families. We’re really, really nervous and anxious, and frankly, worried about this winter, that there are too many families who haven't enough money to put food on the table or heat the radiators.

"As the chief executive of one of Britain's largest children's charities, I am deeply concerned about the impact of that on children and young people in this country who have been going to school cold. We know that children have not been eating properly. We know children whose parents are going without food to enable them to eat. I am deeply concerned about the impact of all of this on children as we head into the darker and even colder months of this winter.”

The survey also showed that over two-thirds (66 per cent) of all those surveyed and 87 per cent of parents and carers in financial strain reported that their household had run out of money before the end of the month in the last three months.

As well as cutting back on Christmas at home, almost half of parents and carers (47 per cent) said they would spend less on travel to see friends and family, suggesting they may not go to see family that they didn’t already live with and 58 per cent would cut down on spending for activities like parties and outings.

Russell added: “We predict a ticking timebomb of debt is just around the corner."

“Too many families face this immediate crisis. We urgently need to see the government step in with additional support targeted at keeping children safe and warm this winter,” he concluded.

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