Poor and middle income families set to be ‘cooped up at home’ for the summer holidays as a result of the rising price of leisure activities and the decline of household incomes, says charity Family Action.
‘Summer on a shoestring’
According to their report, 54% of parents are set to cut back on day trips, weeks away and other summer activities to save vital funds this season. With the average day cost of day trips at £80 (up from £50 last year) for many this would eat away all of their disposable income for the week and for others it would be equivalent to the cost of the family’s weekly food shop.
The research found ‘a stark contrast’ between the life experiences of rich families and those of poor families who may find themselves ‘breaking the bank’ to try and meet children’s expectations. 62% of the poorest families will be not be taking a summer holiday and anticipate taking a maximum of one day out in the six weeks due to financial constraints compared to 6% of ‘well-off’ families. However many parents plan to make sacrifices to their budget to ensure that their children are not left disappointed.
Helen Dent, Chief Executive of Family Action said:
“Whilst those in upper-income groups can still expect that a week's holiday in the UK forms part of a minimum standard of living, the vast majority of the families we support will be lucky to get out of their community for the day.”
Entry fees were said to be the biggest expense of days out according to 75% polled parents but concerns were also highlighted about the cost of eating out and travel. Popular attractions and holiday firms were criticised for pricing many lower income families out due to their high price points.
Call for support
Children’s access to an annual week away from home is used by the Government to determine material deprivation during childhood. Family Action asked the Government, local authorities and holiday companies to help make summer activities more accessible for all families.
Helen Dent continued:
“Families are facing summer on a shoestring with parents and children cooped up at home as a result of falling incomes and raising prices. We know that children get a boost from days out - including to their educational development. However, this year many parents are so worried that summer day trips will break the bank that they're cutting back.”
“We're calling for rip off holiday firms and attractions to stop unfair pricing and improve family offers all year round and for Government to recognise the plight families are facing and protect their incomes.”
They suggested that the Government consider additional support for families whose incomes make day trips or holidays for the children inaccessible. They also called to local authorities to reassess community activities and transport options and offer educational days out at a low cost to help ensure that children do not miss out on beneficial activities because of income constraints.