The cost of raising a child ‘from cradle to college’ has increased to almost £227,266… but it’s going to get worse before it gets better, according to Manchester poverty aid bosses.
A national report by the Centre of Economic and Business Research (CERB) has revealed that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 was up by £5,000 last year.
With parents now spending roughly 28% of their annual income on a child, charity workers have revealed their are now worrying number of families depending on foodbanks to get by.
Liam Hannah, Head of Manchester Central Foodbank told MM: “Since I started working here a year ago, around 60% of people coming into the foodbank were single and 40% were families.
“Now I don’t have exact stats to hand but since August of last year I would say those numbers have reversed.”
Mr Hannah added that as is the case with most foodbanks in Manchester, they were already ‘stretched way beyond capacity’.
“If costs keep going up then we will reach breaking point and we don’t know where these people will end up,” he said.
And the charity worker revealed he doesn’t expect the current situation to improve in 2015.
“If we keep on track with what we have been seeing, then we expect the number of people coming to the foodbank to increase from 2,000 last year to around 3,500 this year,” he said.
“We do expect things to get worse before they get better but we do have hope.”
Those thoughts were echoed by Roseanne Sweeney, Chief Executive of Wood Street Mission, a charity who help families in Manchester and Salford living in poverty.
She said: “We have seen almost a doubling in the numbers of families we help in recent years because families are struggling to afford day-to-day necessities like clothes, food and school costs like school uniform.”
Of particular concern to Ms Sweeney was the rising cost of childcare, which presents a key issue for families in poverty.
“For many of our families paying for childcare is a non-starter which in turn is a barrier to employment or better paid work,” Ms Sweeney said.
Lucy Powell, Labour MP for Manchester Central, was under no illusion as to who to blame for the rising costs and the subsequent impact on single parents and families.
She told MM: “Supporting a family has got harder under this government. Stagnant wages, rising food and fuel prices and low paid zero hours jobs means that many families are feeling the pinch.
“Instead of helping families this government is pulling the rug out from under them with cuts to services and support parents and children rely on.”
To help families make ends meet, Powell added that Labour plans to expand free childcare for working parents with three and four year olds.
Childcare & babysitting costs were second only to education in terms of highest expenses, with increasing University fees a factor that saw them rise to £73,803.
The cost of food and clothing also significantly increased according to last year’s findings.
Hardest hit by the rising costs are single parents. Fiona Weir, Chief Executive of Gingerbread, a national charity for lone parents believes recent reforms have exacerbated matters.
She told MM: “Cuts have seen the UK’s 2 million single parent families lose more from tax and benefit changes than any other household type.
“Typically low wages, high childcare costs, and reduced support from the state mean that more than two thirds of the single parents we surveyed said they were struggling to pay the bills each month.
“Working poverty among single parent families’ is on the rise and child poverty is predicted to grow.”
Image courtesy of Johnny Durham, via Flickr, with thanks.