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Baby Blues: Maternity debt problems for poorest

Low-income families are buckling under the financial pressure of a new baby.

Almost 40,000 (37,887) parents sought our help last year and two-thirds of the 1,745 who cited pregnancy as the reason for their debt problem earn less than £20,000 a year.

We believe that those earning less than £10,000 a year are particularly vulnerable, and are earning less money each month than they need to cover basic living expenses. Last year, they had a monthly budget deficit of £54. This group has very high debts in relation to their income, with average debts last year of £8,593.

The situation is slightly better for those earning between £10,000 and £20,000 as last year they had an average of £16 left over each month after paying for living expenses.

While this means that they are able to cover the cost of their living expenses, the charity is concerned that this leaves them in a very weak position to repay their average debt of £12,384.

Our female clients tell us that it is the drop in income when they go on maternity leave and often only return to work part-time, if at all, that causes the problem more than the costs of feeding and clothing a baby. This is particularly acute for those on low-incomes who might want to return to work full-time but whose wages do not cover the cost of full-time child care.

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Email: press@stepchange.org

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Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2016