Families priced out of summer day trips, charity says

Beside the seaside Entry fees, transport and food were chief among money worries for day trips

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Children in poor and middle-income families are facing a summer "stuck at home" as they cut back on days out and leisure activities, a charity says.

Family Action says standard activities are increasingly out of the reach of many, with a day out costing £80.

A poll of 2,214 mothers for the charity suggests 54% planned to cut back on trips because of money worries.

The charity is urging "rip off" firms to stop unfair pricing and improve offers for families all year round.

Family Action Chief Executive Helen Dent said: "Families are facing summer on a shoestring with parents and children cooped up at home as a result of falling incomes and rising prices.

"We know that children get a boost from days out - including to their educational development.

"However, this year many parents are so worried that summer day trips will break the bank that they're cutting back."

Food costs

She added that the key findings of her charity's report were that both parents on very low incomes and those in the "squeezed middle" were planning to cut back on days out.

Three-quarters of those polled said the biggest expense for a day out tended to be entry fees.

There were also concerns about the cost of transport and eating out.

Most families polled said they would have at least one family day out but those on the lowest incomes were least likely to do so.

The charity also carried out some more detailed face-to-face research with 40 parents who use its services and children's centres around England.

One parent from Liverpool said: "We looked about going away to do something and looked at the price but at the end of the week we didn't have any money. That's the problem."

Another parent said she could not afford to go anywhere because her children were not getting free school meals during the holidays and her food costs rose as a result.

Ms Dent added: "Whilst those in upper-income groups can still expect that a week's holiday in the UK forms part of a minimum standard of living, the vast majority of the families we support will be lucky to get out of their community for the day."

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