Three in 10 families with children at home ‘worried about covering bills’

Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

Nearly three in 10 families with children living at home are worried about their ability to pay the bills in the coming weeks, according to an index.

The 29% who said this was around double the proportion of households with no children living at home with the same concern, at 14%, comparethemarket.com’s household financial confidence tracker found.

More than a third (38%) of families with children at home said they have needed to increase household spending beyond normal levels as lockdowns continue.

A fifth (21%) of families with children said they have had to take time off work for childcare, home schooling, or to provide wider support to their household.

One third (33%) of households generally have taken steps to cut down their spending.

More than half (59%) of households plan to visit restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas as soon as they reopen, although a third (33%) said they will only do so if social distancing continues to be enforced.

Families with children at home also have longer-term concerns about their finances.

Ahead of the March Budget, half (50%) of families with children at home said that if they or their partner were to lose their job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, they would struggle to pay their bills, as did 31% of households without children at home.

Ursula Gibbs, director at comparethemarket.com, said that a greater sense of optimism amid rapid vaccine rollouts “is not yet being reflected in the financial confidence of those with children to look after, but we may see this change as the world opens up again and finances begin to recover”.

She continued: “Worries around affording childcare and paying bills are still front of mind, given the wider impact of the pandemic.”

More than 2,000 people were surveyed across the UK between January 29 and 31.

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