Grandparents saving families £1.7k annually

Some 75 per cent of UK grandparents are looking after their grandchildren for free. 

Research by RIAS has discovered the extent of the help be…

Some 75 per cent of UK grandparents are looking after their grandchildren for free. 

Research by RIAS has discovered the extent of the help being provided by the older generation, as they are saving the average family £1,659 by minding youngsters for eight hours and 12 minutes a week. 

This represents a significant chunk of time and money, and without this assistance many parents would not have enough disposable income to get through the month.

The study tracked the help offered by grandparents over the past five years and found there has been a steady increase. In 2009, only 6.1 million grandparents identified themselves as childminders, but this figure has now swelled to 9.8 million – a rise of 61 per cent. 

On top of this, these individuals are also contributing around £164 a month to toys, clothing, pocket money, savings and leisure activities.

Peter Corfield, managing director at RIAS, said: "As households struggle to make ends meet, it's easy to take advantage of having grandparents on hand to help lighten the childcare load. Grandparents not only continue to play a vital lifeline for UK families, but also bring knowledge and experience that benefits generations.

"It's important that older generations are not merely seen as a money saving measure when it comes to babysitting."

In terms of why people are relying on grandparents more and more for childminding, the two main reasons were increased workload (32 per cent) and rising childcare costs (17 per cent). 

Between 2009 and 2013, there has been a significant increase in the amount of money being saved in childcare, as this figure has risen from £5 billion to £16.4 billion – an upscaling of 228 per cent. 

With many Britons in a somewhat precarious financial situation, the breathing room that can be afforded by grandparents is essential. However, they should seek advice if they feel their debts are getting out of control. 

By James Francis 

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