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The Bank of Mum and Dad running on empty

Parenthood could be the biggest financial commitment you'll ever make. Indeed, the most up-to-date research shows that Northern Ireland mums and dads will spend a whopping £238,000 raising just one child.

It's a shocking sum, representing, as it does, the price of a house or apartment, 15 family cars, or more than 100 Caribbean holidays for two.

But it's the day-to-day costs of caring for a youngster – such as £400-per-year on nappies - from the cradle until he or she is 21 that really seem to hit home hard.

In UK terms the province is now the third most expensive place to raise children after London (£244,977) and the South East (£243,177).

The rise in costs here – up a substantial £5,076 on 2013 – comes at a time when families have seen salaries fail to keep up with inflation, while child benefit payments have also fallen.

In fact, the latest research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has raised concerns that cuts to Government spending on welfare and a lack of growth in wages mean people are deciding to have fewer children.

It found that as incomes stagnate and the cost of living soars, one in five parents has delayed having another child.

Inflation has been extremely damaging and, in the past year alone, the cost of childcare and food have risen by 3.7% and 2.8% respectively.

Consequently, 87% of parents in Northern Ireland admitted to making cutbacks to the family budget compared to a national average of 71%.

That stands to reason. After childcare, toys, school uniforms, pocket money and university fees, the Bank of Mum and Dad is truly exhausted.

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