Belfast Telegraph

Third of parents indebted by back-to-school spending

A similar proportion were forced to deny their youngsters some items because they could not afford them, a credit unions survey showed.

More than a third of parents in Northern Ireland got into debt due to back-to-school costs, a survey showed.

A similar proportion were forced to deny items like new shoes or extra-curricular activities because they could not afford them.

Others sacrificed spending on family holidays and some cut household bills or food.

The average level of debt ran to almost £300 and some turned to pay day loan companies with high interest rates.

An Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) study showed parents paid on average £754 per primary school and £1,160 per secondary school child.

Three quarters saw the outlay as a financial burden.

Paul Bailey, head of marketing and communications at the ILCU, said: “Despite the current recovery of our economy, families continue to struggle to cope with the cost of sending their children to school.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of parents saying they are in debt, and a rise in the numbers saying they are turning to doorstep lenders and payday loan companies.

“I would really encourage these parents to talk to their local credit union even where they feel they have a poor credit history.”

He added: “Using doorstep lenders and payday loan companies, many of whom charge exorbitant interest rates, will lead to a recurring cycle of unnecessary debt and irrational borrowing, and we would seriously urge parents to reconsider going this route.

“Credit unions are responsible lenders who will ensure that their members do not borrow beyond their means and will work with them so that repayments are realistic for their circumstances.”

Some 37% of parents in Northern Ireland got into debt due to back-to-school costs, the online survey of 147 parents carried out last month showed.

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