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No gifts from Santa for one in five children this Christmas

  • 15/12/2020

One in five children (19%) may not get a Christmas present this year as a fifth of parents say they can’t afford to buy gifts without getting in to debt, rising to one in four children (25%) in single parent families, according to new research by national poverty charity ,Turn2us.

The charity warns of the risk that people will be plunged deeper into poverty and may resort to high cost credit and debt just to get through this winter. 

Its research, which surveyed 2,500 working age people across the UK, also shows how more than half of parents (52%) are worried about how they will afford Christmas in general. Around one in ten can’t afford heating or food; one in eight can’t afford rent or mortgage costs; and one in four can’t afford to travel to see friends or family.

The financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have left households across the country worried about the holidays, with some more affected than others. This is especially true for minoritised people:

Single Parents

  • 56% of single parents are worried about how they will pay for Christmas this year, compared to 39% of the general population
  • 25% of single parents can’t afford presents this year, compared to 16% of general population
  • 13% of single parents can’t afford heating this year, compared to 10% of general population
  • 14% of single parents can’t afford food this year, compared to 9% of general population
  • 18% of single parents can’t afford rent/mortgage this year, compared to 13% of general population
  • 36% of single parents can’t afford travel this year, compared to 21% of general population

Black, Asian & other minoritised ethnic people

  • 51% of black people are worried about how they will pay for Christmas this year, compared to 39% of white people
  • 26% of BAME people can’t afford presents this year, compared to 14% of white people
  • 18% of BAME people can’t afford heating this year, compared to 9% of white people
  • 19% of BAME people can’t afford food this year, compared to 8% of white people
  • 24% of BAME people can’t afford rent/mortgage this year, compared to 12% of white people
  • 29% of BAME people can’t afford travel this year, compared to 20% of white people

People with disabilities

  • 52% of disabled people are worried about how they will pay for Christmas this year, compared to 36% of able-bodied people
  • 20% of disabled people can’t afford presents this year, compared to 14% of able bodied people
  • 13% of disabled people can’t afford heating this year, compared to 9% of able bodied people
  • 12% of disabled people can’t afford food this year, compared to 7% of able bodied people
  • 15% of disabled people can’t afford rent/mortgage this year, compared to 12% of able bodied people
  • 26% of disabled people can’t afford travel this year, compared to 19% of able bodied people

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said: “This year has been a disaster for people’s incomes. Jobs have been lost, businesses closed – and savings have been wiped out. Many of us will now only be able to afford Christmas by using credit.

“What is truly unfair is how disproportionately the coronavirus pandemic has affected Black, Asian and other people from minoritised communities, those on low incomes, individuals with a disability, single parents, and young people.

“Everyone deserves a break this year and households must be able to put hot food on the table and a couple of gifts under the tree for their children.  Our government has a duty to provide an inclusive economy for all, which includes reforming and fixing our social security system.

“The private sector can also help, by providing responsible credit options to people struggling with money and avoiding insecure employment contracts. Meanwhile, we urge anyone who may be considering using credit to pay for Christmas this year to first find out if they are eligible for a charitable grant. ”

Sarah Pennells, Head of Financial Capability at Royal London, said: “Christmas can put a real strain on our finances at the best of times, but the coronavirus pandemic has meant that millions of people have seen their income reduce, or disappear entirely.

“It’s understandable that people may feel they have no other choice but to borrow money to pay for essentials or presents, but that could make things even worse if they can’t afford to pay it back.

“Turn2us can help people find out whether they’re entitled to state benefits as well as charitable grants, which could make all the difference between being able to pay for food or presents, or taking on debt.”

You can support families by donating to Turn2us here: https://donate.turn2us.org.uk/