Christmas debt looms for one in four young parents

Monday 17 December 2018

YWT logoMore than one in four young parents expect to get into debt this Christmas, as the cost of festivities and austerity take their toll, according to Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay. 

The charity surveyed 4,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 and found that, of those with children, 28 per cent said that they will most likely be faced with expenses they cannot afford over the festive period. 

Overall, 16 per cent of young people think they will get into debt. Those in the North East are by far the most likely to expect to get into debt on 24 per cent. 

This comes after the charity found that more than a third of UK young people think they will still be in debt by the time they’re 40, as they report worsening debt levels. 

Young women are more likely to be in a difficult financial situation than men; 40 per cent struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month, compared to 29 per cent of young men.  

Young Women’s Trust says that the increase in debt could be down to worsening finances, with a quarter of young people saying their financial situation has deteriorated in the past year. Young women are more likely than young men to be jobless or trapped in low-paid or insecure work. 

Young people see their family as their main safety net. Many are borrowing from the bank of mum and dad even in to their late 20s. One in five rely on their parents or carers to get to the end of the month, with that number rising among young women. 

When asked how else they make their cash last to the end of the month, 18 per cent go into their overdraft, 16 per cent work additional hours, 13 per cent rely on a credit card and eight per cent sell their belongings. Young women are more likely to take these measures than men. 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:  

“Young people tell us they want to work hard and be financially independent but as prices rise and wages remain low, more and more are struggling. Christmas is a particularly hard time for those on low pay who want to provide for their families. 

“Young women are more likely to be stuck on low pay and on zero hours contracts. Often they don’t know how many hours they will work each month and whether they will earn enough to pay their bills. It can be particularly hard for young mums; in some cases, low pay means an hour’s childcare costs more than an hour’s wages. As a result, many are failing to make ends meet and are falling into debt.  

“Much more needs to be done to improve young people’s prospects. This means giving them the right skills and support to find jobs, ensuring decent and flexible jobs are available and paying a proper living wage that doesn’t discriminate against age. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”   

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste. 

  2. All figures unless otherwise stated are based on findings from a survey carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,010 18-30-year olds and 1,105 54-72-year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 29 June-16 July 2018. The survey of 18-30-year olds shows that: 

  • 28 per cent of young parents expect to get into debt this Christmas (29 per cent of mums and 26 per cent of dads); 

  • 16 per cent of all young people expect to get into debt this Christmas (18 per cent of young women and 15 per cent of young men); 

  • more young people expect to be in debt by the age of 40 than not; 36 per cent (or more than a third) think they will still be in debt by the time they’re 40, 34 per cent expect to be debt free by the age of 40 and 4 per cent already are debt free; 

  • 26 per cent say their levels of debt have got worse over the past year; 

  • 34 per cent struggle to make their cash last to the end of the month (40 per cent of young women, or two in five, and 29 per cent of young men, or nearly a third). 

  • 24 per cent say their financial situation has got worse over the past year;  

  • 19 per cent (or one in five) are reliant on their parents to help them make money last until the end of the month. (22 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men); and 

  • 46 per cent (or almost half) would go to their family first if they were in debt. 

3. When young people were asked how they make their cash last to the end of the month: 

  • 19 per cent borrow money from family (22 per cent of young women and 15 per cent of young men); 

  • 18 per cent go into their overdraft (21 per cent of young women and 16 per cent of young men); 

  • 16 per cent work additional hours (17 per cent of young women and 14 per cent of young men); 

  • 13 per cent rely on a credit card (15 per cent of young women and 11 per cent of young men); and 

  • eight per cent sell belongings (10 per cent of young women and six per cent of young men. 

4. For more information, regional breakdowns or to speak to a young woman who is affected, please contact Bex Bailey on 07963018281 or bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org

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