Welsh families struggle to pay the bills

12 August 2014, 06:00

The Children's Society and StepChange Debt Charity say that children are the most affected by the rising debt crisis - with a third of families having to borrowing money to pay for the essentials.

A new study by the charities shows that 86,009 families in the Wales are failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments.

This means an estimated 148,059 local children are living in families with problem debt.

Each struggling family is behind on payments by an average of £2,058 and across Wales families owe a total of £177m in bills and loans.

An investigation by The Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity earlier this year found that debt puts stress on family relationships and traps families in a downward spiral of borrowing.

Families with dependent children face even more pressures as they are more likely to receive unexpected bills and are less able to cope with sudden financial shocks, for example redundancy, reduced hours or illness.

As families begin to struggle financially, many feel that taking on credit is the only way to make ends meet - a third of all families have had to borrow money to pay for essentials for their children in the last year.

This often marks the beginning of the debt trap as credit repayments begin take up a larger proportion of income and families find themselves cutting back on necessities.

The Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity are calling on governments to develop a ‘breathing space’ scheme to give struggling families an extended period of protection from additional charges.

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