Soaring holiday costs price parents out of the market

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Parents priced out of holiday marketPic: Getty

The annual family holiday has long been something to look forward to during the long winter months, but it's a tradition that could soon be a thing of the past. According to a new survey, even middle-class parents are struggling to save for a break during the school holidays, as prices soar by up to 200 per cent.

The poll of 1,000 parents, by holiday firm Irish Cottages, revealed that three-quarters of mums and dads earning up to £24,000 had trouble saving enough cash for a family getaway, and half of those with a combined income of between £44,000 and £54,000 had been forced to make sacrifices in order to take the family abroad.

Only those with a household income of £84,000 or more said they were not concerned about the cost of getting away this year.

The issue of fines for parents taking their children out of school during term time has only exacerbated the problem, and holiday firms are taking advantage with hugely inflated prices.

More than two-fifths of parents admitted they had opted for a term time break despite the prospect of fines, with one in seven confessing to lying about illnesses or deaths in the family to avoid the extra cost.

Seven in ten of those surveyed agreed with the principle of the policy on term-time absences, but suggested it should be less strict.

Where previously sympathetic headteachers could grant authorised absences of up to ten days, since September, the practice has been banned aside from "exceptional circumstances".

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education told the Daily Mail: "We are giving all schools the freedom to set their own term dates... This means that parents and teachers can benefit from cheaper holidays at the end of September. We want schools to consider changes to term dates that will work for their pupils and their families."

What do you think? Would you risk paying a school fine, or do you agree with the policy on term-time breaks? Leave your comments below...