Children 'loaning money to parents'

Children as young as eight are loaning their pocket money to their cash-strapped parents, a study has found.

Some 58% of eight to 15-year-olds surveyed by Halifax said they worry about the state of the family's finances, showing how the intense pressure on household budgets is affecting young people.

Almost a third (31%) of 1,132 children surveyed said they had lent money to someone else. Of those who had, about two thirds said they had loaned cash to friends and 29% said they had given loans to their parents.

Almost a quarter (24%) of the eight-year-olds who were questioned said they sometimes lend money to other people. Of this group, 35% said they lend money to their parents and 61% give cash to their friends.

Real disposable incomes dropped to their lowest levels in nine years in the first quarter of this year to reach £273 a week, an Office for National Statistics study found last month.

Family budgets have been squeezed by high living costs, high unemployment and low wage rises, although there have been some signs of improvement as inflation eases off.

Children in London are the most likely to worry about money, with 64% of those surveyed there saying they did this, followed by those in the East Midlands, South East and South West, where the proportion stood at 62% for these regions.

Children in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside said they were the least likely to worry about money, with 49% and 50% respectively saying they were concerned about finances.

Richard Fearon, head of Halifax savings said: "It is concerning that children are becoming anxious about their parents' money worries but this highlights that children are really aware of the financial behaviour of the people around them. By introducing positive saving and spending practices from an early age, children can get into habits that will help them to manage their money."

The study found that the older children are, the more likely they are to worry about money. Fifty-seven per cent of eight-year-olds said they never worry about money, but this figure had dropped to 47% among 11-year-olds.