December 12 2013 Latest news:
Monday, August 19, 2013
Parents face a growing struggle as the cost of bringing up a child has risen to £148,000, according to new research.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said that the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 has gone up by 4pc over the last year.
But the value of benefits for families and children only rose by 1pc, and child benefit did not rise at all, tightening the squeeze on living standards. Minimum wages rose 1.8pc and average earnings by 1.5pc, making it harder for parents to maintain living standards for their families.
What do you think? Is it getting more expensive to raise children? What are the biggest challenges for parents trying to make ends meet?
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.”
The report, co-funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found it cost about £160 a week to raise a child, including child care costs and housing.
The basic cost for a couple to raise a child over 18 years was £81,772, or £148,105 including rent, child care and council tax, with those figures rising to £90,980 and £161,260 respectively for a lone parent.
Child care costs have risen sharply over the last 12 months - by 5.9% - yet the value of both child benefit and child tax credit relative to the costs of raising a child have decreased, CPAG said.
Many low-income families have also seen cuts in housing support, such as the spare room subsidy, or “bedroom tax”, and many non-working families are now required to pay council tax.
Katie Schmuecker, policy and research manager at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “The task of making ends meet for families with children has always been hard, but is getting harder, and balancing family budgets has become a perilous and delicate act for hard-pressed parents.
“Flatlining wages, cuts to benefits and tax credits and the rising cost of essentials is creating a growing gap between income and needs.”
What do you think? What are your experiences of the cost of raising children? What are the biggest challenges for parents trying to make ends meet? Leave your comments below.