Mums missing meals to feed kids
ONE IN FIVE mums is regularly missing meals so her kids can eat while one in four families are living on credit cards, claims a new study.
Seven out of 10 families are living on the edge of financial survival - facing meltdown if the smallest thing changes in their finances, according to research by Netmums.
One in 20 families are having to take regular payday loans and one in 100 have turned to loan sharks to stay afloat, reveals the survey of more than 2,000 mums by the UK's largest parenting site.
The worrying research also found that almost half of families have sold or pawned goods to survive, while one in six parents (16 per cent) are being treated for a stress-related illness due to lack of cash.
The survey revealing the shocking extent of the financial crisis facing many of Britain's families was conducted following a visit by PM David Cameron to Netmums to discover how families are coping in Austerity Britain.
It has found 70 per cent of families are 'on the edge' of surviving. Dubbed 'the Ledgers', these families could face ruin if hit by further price hikes or falls in their income.
The study found almost two-thirds of families (64 per cent) have less money coming in than this time last year.
More than six out of 10 families (61 per cent) are short of money EVERY week. Two in five families need an extra £20 a week to get by, a third (33 per cent) need £50 and one in 10 families would need an extra £100 each week to make ends meet.
A further 15 per cent said they were 'desperate' with debts piling up. And one in 33 claimed to be 'suicidal' and 'unable to cope'.
Almost a third (30 per cent) have borrowed money from friends and family, a quarter (24 per cent) are living on credit cards and one in 20 have taken out a bank loan to fund everyday living.
One in seven (15 per cent) has taken on a new job to bring in extra money. Worryingly, five per cent are taking regular payday loans and digging themselves deeper into debt - while one in 100 has been forced to use illegal lenders and loan sharks.
Three out of four families (76 per cent) are eating cheaper, poor quality food to save cash.
One mum quizzed said: "If it's a choice between me or the kids eating, I will feed them. I have lost so much weight my clothes don't fit but I can't afford to buy any more."
Some families have stopped going to children's parties to avoid buying presents and some even say their kids are being bullied because they're poor.
Two in five (40 per cent) buy from charity shops while nine per cent walk to work to save on travel fares.
And one in 25 families (four per cent) have even sold their house or moved to cheaper rented accommodation in a desperate bid to cut their outgoings and save cash.
Sixteen per cent are being treated for a stress-related illness while eight per cent are taking anti-depressants and one in 100 are receiving counselling.
A third (35 per cent) said their relationship with their partner is increasingly 'strained', although nine per cent claimed they had become closer.
However, one in five (19 per cent) revealed they had become 'isolated' from friends as they could no longer afford to socialise.
Childcare costs are a huge worry for 17 per cent of parents, along with travel (40 per cent) and phone bills (30 per cent).
Twelve per cent of all the families quizzed had seen one or more earners made redundant, while 16 per cent had been forced to quit work to care for the children as they did not make enough money to cover childcare costs.
Just over half (53 per cent) said they 'understand the Government is doing its best in a tough climate and it is difficult for everyone'. However, 47 per cent said they felt 'abandoned' by the Government in their family's 'time of need'.
Netmums founder Sally Russell said: "It's shocking that seven in 10 families in the UK today are living on the edge of existence - but it's a crisis that needs exposing.
"Mums shouldn't be missing meals to feed their children or turning to loan sharks in modern Britain.
"Family finances are so strained that any more pressure will turn this personal crisis into a catastrophe for the nation."