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Looking after children during lockdown costs many parents an extra £52 per week

Looking after children during lockdown costs many parents an extra £52 per week

40% of families with children at home have spent more on their children during lockdown than they would normally.

Published: 29 JUNE 2020
  • Parents who are spending more than normal see costs rise by an average of £52 a week on childcare, food and entertainment.
  • 40% of households with children at home say they expect either to be made redundant or that they will have to take a pay cut or reduce their hours as a result of the pandemic.
  • 23% of families struggled to pay their bills over the past seven days.

Thursday 25 June 2020 – Parents are spending hundreds of pounds extra a month to take care of their children during lockdown. New data from comparethemarket.com’s Household Financial Confidence Tracker shows that 40% of families with children at home have spent more on their children during lockdown than they would normally. Of these, parents are spending an average of £52 more every week on childcare, food and entertainment.

The twelve weeks of lockdown so far could have cost many families an extra £625. With the summer holidays still a few weeks away, these additional weekly costs could add to what can already be an expensive time for parents.

Average amount spent extra on looking after children amongst parents who say they are spending more each week

All families with children at home £52.05
5 years old and under £55.31
Between 6 and 10 years old £54.65
Between 11 and 15 years old £53.12
Between 16 and 18 years old £57.08
Over 18 years old £42.11
NET: 6-18 years old £53.61

Families with children are also facing extended worries around their employment and future income, which will add to concerns over how to pay for childcare. 40% say they expect either to be made redundant or that they will have to take a pay cut or reduce their hours as a result of the pandemic (up from 37% two weeks ago). This compares to 26% of households without children at home. Over the past week, the proportion of families with children at home who struggled to pay their bills fell slightly from 27% to 23%, but this figure is still significantly higher than those without children at home (12%).

Mark Gordon, director of Money at comparethemarket.com, said:

“Families with children at home have been one of the groups hit hardest financially by the lockdown. Many are caught between diminished income on one hand - having reduced hours voluntarily to care for their children or having seen their employment circumstances change for the worse - and higher costs on the other. Measures by the Government to cut taxes on essential goods will help, as will its commitment to extending free school meal vouchers throughout the summer holidays, but banks and financial services companies also need to continue to be flexible as many of their customers will be feeling the financial strain.”

UK Households warming towards return to normal life

One week after non-essential shops were permitted to open, the proportion of households which say they are likely to visit the high street remains low and confidence does not appear to be returning. 59% of people said they do not plan to go to these shops in person (flat week on week, falling only one percentage point from 60%). 31% say they are not satisfied that shops will be able to enforce social distancing guidelines.

However, there are signs that anxiety around going to pubs, bars and restaurants is slowly easing. The proportion of UK households who would not be comfortable visiting cafes, bars and restaurants once they reopen has fallen noticeably for the first time since the comparethemarket.com Household Financial Confidence Tracker began, having risen steadily over the past two months. This week, just over half (52%) of households said they would not be comfortable visiting these places, a fall from 56% a week before. 30% of people said they would be happy to visit cafes, pubs and restaurants but will be very conscious of where they sit and will ask to move seat if they feel that they are too close to someone else.

Mark Gordon continues:

“Despite reports of queues around the block for shops when they opened last week, households are still nervous to get back out and spend. The majority of people are still worried about retailers’ ability to keep them safe and socially distanced so, for now, we expect to see more people opt to shop online than hit the high street. With the hospitality industry poised to reopen in the next few weeks, pubs and restaurants will be nervously monitoring consumer comfort levels with being in public spaces. Our data suggests slightly more people would be happy ordering a pint in person than a few weeks ago, but we still have a long way to go before UK household behaviour returns to pre-lockdown levels.”

Notes to editors

Average amount spent extra on looking after children amongst parents who say they are spending more each week.

Scotland £39.87
North East £83.53
North West £37.75
Yorkshire & Humberside £23.54
West Midlands £55.24
East Midlands £33.38
Wales £34.31
Eastern £41.72
London £71.47
South East £83.41
South West £41.98
Northern Ireland £47.69

comparethemarket.com’s Household Financial Confidence Tracker analyses on a weekly basis how the UK’s financial confidence is increasing or decreasing in response to the changes to our lives and finances as a result of the current pandemic.   

Populus survey on behalf of comparethemarket.com of 2,133 UK adults between 19-21 June 2020.  

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