CHILDREN whose parents are living with problem debt are being bullied because of their family circumstances, a new report has revealed.
According to research by The Children's Society and StepChange Debt Charity, two-and-a-half million children live in families who are behind on £4.8billion of household bills and loan repayments.
A further five million children are in families that are struggling to keep up with repayments.
The report, which focuses on the impact on children, has discovered that youngsters suffer worry, bullying, and shortages of food, clothing and heating. It called for the Government to negotiate a debt holiday for families to help parents escape the pressure to meet repayment and interest demands.
Ros Duerden, from Blackburn food bank, welcomed the report and said that many families coming to the food bank were struggling with debt.
She said: “Bullying is a problem. It’s one of the reasons we now give out toiletries, for instance, when we get them. Youngsters going into school with dirty hair because they haven’t been able to have a shower are more likely to be bullied. It’s something we consider daily. A debt holiday would be ideal, it would be a useful part of a safety net.
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“Over a third of the families that we are helping currently are not people who need long-term support, who need benefits. They’re just people who are going through a tough patch. A debt holiday - a genuine debt holiday that didn’t incur higher interest — would keep them safe.