NEW research has found that nearly half of parents in the South West are worried that the cost of summer holidays will put them into financial difficulty.  

The research, conducted by The Salvation Army, found that 40 per cent of parents are worried that the cost of summer holidays and preparing their children to go back to school after the summer holiday will put them into financial difficulty.  

While the summer holidays are meant to be a period of fun and relaxation, following the survey, seven per cent of parents  in the South West reported being very worried they would not be able to afford essentials like food and utility bills and 33 per cent of parents were fairly worried.  

Of parents worried across the UK, exactly half of all ‘worried respondents’ cited the cost of school uniforms, with three in 10 also expressing their concern that they won’t be able to afford food because they rely on free school meals during term time. 

Unsurprisingly, those on the lowest incomes, less than £14,999, were most worried about falling into financial difficulty over the summer, but working parents across the UK are also struggling to make ends meet. 

A quarter of all ‘worried parents’ in work were concerned about the cost of food over summer, and almost one in five ‘worried parents’ in work were concerned about taking unpaid leave. 

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Coke of The Salvation Army said: “Every year, Salvation Army officers see the strain that the summer holiday has on families as essential support like school dinners are suspended, and they also face school uniform bills for the new term.  

“Despite statutory guidance for schools on affordable school uniforms, year on year we are seeing greater demand for our uniform banks with parents telling us that even ‘affordable’ uniforms are not an option if you have no money.  

“The new government has the chance to rethink how public services and the welfare system can level the playing field for families marginalised by poverty; and invest in the services that will give families and children a chance to live life to the full. We’re calling on them to use the first budget to put families first so that they can get the help they need. 

“However, we don’t want children to just survive summer holidays with three square meals and uniform that fits for the new term; we want them to thrive, play, explore and relax. Children being able to enjoy the summer should not be a luxury which is why The Salvation Army runs summer camps, play groups, drop-ins and other summer activities. Children get to spread their wings and struggling parents get a little but much needed break too.”