Festive sacrifices made for children

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THOUSANDS of Wigan parents will be facing financial stress this Christmas, a shock new report reveals today.

More than half of mums and dads say they are having to cut back on spending on themselves to buy presents for their children.

The charity Action for Children reveals that more than a third of mums and dads regularly struggle to make their money last to the end of the month, making the festive season particularly difficult.

And 47 per cent have also had to reduce spending on themselves to afford essentials like food, clothes and transport for their children.

Action for Children provides access to money advice and classes at many of its 200 children’s centres in England including Wigan. It works in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, credit unions and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to provide support on benefits, debt, welfare, housing and getting back to work for families who need it.

Members can provide help and tips on how to manage finances over the festive period.

John Egan, director of children’s service at Action for Children, said: “Parents want to give their children a magical Christmas, and this places a lot of pressure on them to spend. When so many parents already struggle to make their money last with everyday living costs, Christmas can spark a crisis of stress, bills and debt.

“Parents worried about their money situation should seek help now to prepare for Christmas and to avoid the dreaded day in January when the Christmas bills land on the mat.

“Seeing how many parents struggle to make their money last from month to month is also a reminder of the difficult financial situation many people face every day with lower real incomes than before the recession.

“Many parents face these challenges simply because they have so little income. The Government must consider the importance of family income and how to maintain it in the wider economic environment.”

The charity’s chief executive Tony Hawkhead said: “Seeing how many parents struggle to make their money last from month to month is also a reminder of the difficult financial situation many people face every day with lower real incomes than before the recession.

“Many parents face these challenges simply because they have so little income. The Government must consider the importance of family income and how to maintain it in the wider economic environment.”

For more information on Action for Children, based at Worsley Mesnes Methodist Church, Poolstock Lane, call 01942 239253 or visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk