A third of young parents 'will get into debt at Christmas'

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New figures show that a third of young parents expect to get into debt this Christmas, as food costs rise and wages stagnate. 

In a survey of parents aged 18-30, 29 per cent told Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, that they will most likely be faced with expenses they cannot afford over the festive period. 

Young women, with and without children, are more likely to be in debt over Christmas than young men. The Populus Data Solutions poll of more than 4,000 young people shows that nearly one in five young women (18 per cent) will be in debt this Christmas, compared to one in seven young men (15 per cent). 

A report earlier this year by the charity found that money is particularly tight for young mothers, with 61 per cent aged 16-24 saying that they were just about managing financially. Nearly half (46 per cent) regularly missed meals in order to provide for their children. A third admitted to being worried about the financial situation in their household, with one in ten (11 per cent) being extremely worried. Shockingly, more than a quarter of young mothers (27 per cent) currently use foodbanks or have used them in the past. 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive, Dr Carole Easton, 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.”  

* Young Women's Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. https://www.youngwomenstrust.org/

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