UK parents facing £1.5bn bill as kids return to school

20th August 2013

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The arrival of the new school year could push parents to the financial limit as the cost for kitting out the UK’s 8.1m children for the new term could hit £1.5bn writes Philip Scott.

According to research from Nationwide Building Society, as a result of the heavy fee, more than a fifth of parents will rely on credit cards to fund purchases as the start of the new school year approaches.

The study found that an average of £180 per child will be spent on the likes of uniforms, school shoes and other essentials over the coming weeks to ensure they are prepared for the start of term.

The study also suggests that older parents surveyed are likely to spend more on their children in preparation for the new term, with those aged 55 plus set to spend an average of £212 per child.

With so many items needed, parents are concerned about how they are going to finance these purchases and some 38 per cent of parents are worried about how they will pay for everything.

As a result, more than a fifth of parents, at 22 per cent will rely on their credit card, with 10 per cent of parents admitting they will turn to the grandparents for financial help.

A further 15 per cent of parents say they will need to dip into their savings to ensure children have everything they need for the start of term. Just over three quarters, at 76 per cent, say that they will use cash sitting in their current account to fund items needed.

Graham Pilkington, Nationwide’s director for banking, says: “Even when the kids are at school, parents have to spend money. Following on from the summer holidays, where our recent research showed that parents are likely to have spent £1,000 per child, this latest expense makes the July to September period one of the most expensive of the year for parents.

“With more and more items required to send kids back to school in September, the financial burden is becoming even greater. Parents understand this with nearly two in five admitting that they worry about how they are going to pay for everything.

“With 0 per cent purchase deals and cashback offers available, a number of parents are turning to credit cards to fund these purchases as they can offer an efficient means to buy what’s needed. What’s more, where the card offers cashback, this can also help to offset some of the expenditure.”

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