Parents urged to seek debt advice

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As children across Northern Ireland return to school this week, Debt Action NI is urging people to seek advice as many struggle to cope with the additional costs of summer holidays.

Debt Action NI said that with Northern Ireland having longer summer holidays than England and Wales, families here were hit harder.

Anne Marie Carmichael from Debt Action NI’s Lisburn office said: “Those most vulnerable or low income families find the summer holidays a stressful time and it can lead to those families getting into debt to manage children’s expectations and the sheer cost of having extra mouths to feed for two months.

“A report recently published by Morrison’s stated that the average debt accrued throughout the summer holidays could reach up to as much as £500 per household.”

Working parents are also hugely affected over the summer months with increased childcare and food costs.

A report recently published by Kellogg’s stated that one third of parents skipped a meal so that their child could eat during the school holidays.

Anne Marie said: “If you are struggling with debt you don’t have to face it alone.

“You can contact Debt Action NI by calling the Freephone helpline on 0800 917 4607 to speak directly to an adviser between 8am and 9pm Monday – Friday, and 9am -3pm on a Saturday or you can text the word “Action” to 81025 and an adviser will call you back.

“You can browse the dedicated website, www.debtaction-ni.net, where you can chat to a virtual adviser or use an online budgeting tool.”