Childhood cancers forcing parents into debt

Two thirds of parents who have children fighting cancer are being forced into debt due to the costs of caring for them, according to research.Childhood cancers forcing parents into debtThe charity CLIC Sargent found in it’s survey Childhood cancer drives two thirds of parents into debt families were struggling to meet the extra expenses of childcare, travel and accommodation.

Many such parents also take extensive unpaid leave, so the families have to get by on reduced incomes.

The survey of 245 parents found 66 per cent were having to borrow money to make ends meet, while 76 per cent said extra costs were having a major impact on family finances.

More than two in five (42 per cent) were borrowing on a credit card, while 20 per cent had taken out a loan.

More than one in 20 (6 per cent) had turned to high interest, short-term loans to cope with additional costs.

Of those in debt, 41 per cent had been forced to borrow more than £1,000 to fund extra costs while 27 per cent borrowed more than £2,000.

More than half (55 per cent) had taken unpaid leave – many more than three months – while 13 per cent said they felt they had been demoted as a result.

Cancer-related expenses every month amounted to more than £360 on average.

Lorraine Clifton, chief executive of CLIC Sargent, said: “Everyone is suffering in this economic climate but parents of children with cancer are amongst the hardest hit. The extra costs can be significant.

“It’s shocking to hear that some families felt driven to debt in order to get through financially. Unpaid leave from work, travel costs and care for siblings are some of the additional costs that families face once cancer treatment begins.

“CLIC Sargent is concerned that Government reforms will restrict families’ options to financial support through the benefits system.

“Which is why we want to work with the Government and other organisations to ensure young people and children with cancer, and their families, have the financial support they need.”

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