Making ends meet ‘getting harder’ for young

A fifth of families are struggling to make ends meet, with the young particularly prone to going into debt in a desperate bid to pay the bills.

A fifth of families are struggling to make ends meet, with the young particularly prone to going into debt in a desperate bid to pay the bills.

That is the conclusion of a new report by the Scottish Widows thinktank Centre for the Modern Family, which found in a survey that 78 per cent of families believe matters are tougher now than they were a decade ago.

While a fifth are struggling to make ends meet and 39 per cent said they were just about coping, only seven per cent said family life is currently comfortable.

The particular problems affecting younger adults (those aged between 18 and 34) include higher debt due to being more than twice as likely as the overall average to take out a payday loan, with ten per cent having done so.

In addition to this, one-in-five young people have been unable to pay household bills and 13 per cent have skipped meals to ensure their children eat well.

Overall, 45 per cent of families say financial problems are their biggest concern, with the figure at its highest in Wales at 57 per cent.

However, other regions face more specific problems, with the issue of redundancy and unemployment highest in the East Midlands (affecting 24 per cent) and housing problems being most common in London, where 19 per cent are struggling compared to ten per cent nationally.

Chair of the thinktank Lord Leitch said: "These findings paint a stark and in some cases desperate picture of family life in Britain today."

He added: "Young people in particular face a very different kind of working life from the one that their parents and grandparents experienced."

The data has been produced at a time when government welfare proposals have been criticised by some as being likely to have a negative effect on many families.

Prime minister David Cameron has attacked the "something for nothing" culture that sees many people living on benefits while having large families, but Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garnham argued that it "makes no sense to try to drive a wedge between the working poor and families out of work," claiming that these tend to be distinguished only by their current circumstances at a time of high unemployment.

By James Francis

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