Relate survey: Money problems 'causing family strain'

Wedding rings The survey was designed to assess the impact of current economic difficulties on relationships

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The UK's ongoing financial problems are putting an increasing strain on family relationships, a survey has suggested.

Of 2,742 people polled by the Relate charity, 59% were worried about their economic prospects for the new year.

Covering their own household bills remains the top concern for most, while 38% admitted financial worries had led to more family arguments and stress.

Relate said politicians should take into account the cost to the economy of families breaking up.

Living costs

The study was designed to assess the impact of current economic difficulties on relationships.

More than half of those asked were worried about prospects for themselves or their families, and most were more stressed about meeting day-to-day living costs than about illness or keeping their jobs.

Some 93% said that, in tough times, their family relationships were important to them.

The survey found that almost six out of 10 people shared their fears and concerns about financial or other worries with their partner, and four in 10 turned to other family members.

Women worried more about covering everyday costs - with 55% expressing this fear compared to 49% of men.

'Nearest and dearest'

Relate estimated that the cost of family breakdowns to the economy was £44bn a year, and said politicians should take families into account when formulating policy.

Relate chief executive Ruth Sutherland said: "The most striking thing about this survey is what it tells us about the value of our personal relationships.

"When times are tough and when all else fails, we turn to our nearest and dearest to get us through, and it's in our best interests to support people to make the best of their relationships at home."

The charity's chairman Andrew Ketteringham said the findings "send a strong message to politicians and public figures".

"Our personal relationships are even more important to us in the age of austerity as we turn to them for support," he said.

"Government should give equal weight to measuring the impact of policy on families and relationships as with economic considerations. Economic impact cannot continue to trump social wellbeing."

"Government must recognise the importance of relationships and families as the basis of a thriving society."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Its strange but yesterday it was estimated 3b £ was being spent at the sales. It seems many of these peoples need to get their priorities in order. Buying goods that are not needed has always been a total waste of money, as they will be either "ends" of lines or apparently bought in for the sales to make it look like a "bargain". The way a Survey is phrased also makes a difference to results

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    all good publicity for Relate ( whoever they are )

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.


    "The sooner people are demoted to not having flatscreens.."

    Since you cannot get anything other than flatscreens, are you saying they shouldn't have TV? I presume you would also deny them a computer - when the Govt is making jobseekers apply online.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    milvusvestal; you are aware that in real terms, taking inflation into acount, real wages have not risen by any real amount since the 70's, people have been given credit instead, which is debt, everything is debt, your house? debt - loose your job, say goodbye to your house, car? - debt. amenities? - debt, wages go on mortgage. The system is orginised this way - on purpose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    "Relate ... said politicians should take families into account when formulating policy" - Is this some sort of in-joke? I never hear anything but "hardworking families", "vulnerable familes". The opposite is true someone should think of single people. Don't think I have ever heard one policy to help this group. Everyone single ends up subsidising other people's kids. It's wildly unfair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    154 Trout
    "If we reverted (worst case) to the 2002 standard of living..."
    I think you underestimate how far we can/may go yet. Think lower than the 1930s.
    What we're seeing now is nothing. It's a symptom of a much larger problem. A fiat currency crises. Families thought they had it bad, well it's going to really get worse judging by our current government policies :(

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    There is desperation in the UK, for families,, graduates, students, elderley, sick. Top graduates cannot get jobs causing anxiety and depression on their families, pensioners cannot afford heating or food, health is deteriorating as is care. The rich get richer - teachers struggle whilst doctor get rich. Of course this whole situation is breaking down families. Hardworking people are now in debt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    At my old age, I sometimes wonder how the youngsters are going to manage. The last Government encouraged people to buy, buy. Luckily our family continued buying what we needed and occasionally spoiling ourselves. Who are "they"? Why do we need "Tablets", new i pods, whatever they are, etc.? The worst thing that ever arrived is the Credit Card! If you can't afford it, don't buy it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    "even a graduate"

    Ahh what rare beasts they are.

    We are being boiled like frogs in the water."

    Sounds much like you have been already.

    "Too many Freemasons in Courts"

    So your not a conspiracy theorist then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    "We are all in this together". I mean I had to pay extra for the port and sherry for this years 'stirrup cup' prior to the boxing day hunt!

    I was so worried about the poor not having a good Christmas I almost spilt it!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    This stuff is really annoying.

    If relationships break up over money strains then they are crap anyway.

    The sooner people are demoted to not having flatscreens, iphones and an endless supply of fast food and lager the better the place will be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    25.Ex Tory Voter
    1 Hour ago
    Our debt will not fall until tax avoision is fixed. Being ducked 100% by gov.

    Why are people so obsessed with the tax avoidance issue ?? The estimated amount 'avoided' is a mere drop in a very large ocean ..... Probably enough to cover the welfare/benefit bill for less than one day in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    "Money problems 'causing family strain'"

    No, no it's not, greed is the problem. People not willing to sacrifice is causing family strain. If you can't afford the rent, sell the 42' flat screen, or cancel the sky subscription, or sell the second car, or get a cheaper more economical one. Can't afford the shopping? Try Aldi or Lidl instead of Waitrose and Sainsburys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    It is easy to say we survived on less in years gone by but poverty is relative. What I considered a luxury in my youth is now considered by many to be neccessity. Times change and therefore so do peoples expectations. The family has also changed and the pressures on it as well. The breakdown of relationships always increases when times are hard. The cost to society can be immense and hidden too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    33 Minutes ago
    It's a moot point who caused what, I'm sure even Brown didn't cause a world recession"

    No but he was the architect of the excessive borrowing and spending in the UK. Tax take was in deficit in the good times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    They should have also given the break down of the expenditure eg. how much money is spent on the non essentials (ie alcohol, tobbaco and others etc)
    Working as a GP on Xmas and boxing day in OOH I received several calls for home visit because parents have no money to bring the child to the clinic in a taxi. They cant drive because they have had too much alcohol! What should be our priorities?

  • Comment number 158.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    Why is it that too many of those in debt think that they are blameless when it comes to borrowing in order to pay for luxury goods and services instead of the necessitities of life? The present state of our economy is a good opportunity for people on the never-never to re-examine how they spend money they didn't have in the first place, and to buy only what they actually need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    It is maintained that families have been living beyond their means, but that is through necessity, as UK companies underpay their staff. For example, even a graduate might have to work unpaid as an intern for up to two years. Companies take advantage of these people. My daughter graduated, but works in an unrelated industry for a Swiss company. They pay her twice UK average pay from day one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    One of the purposes of this article is to fuel more fear onto the fire. Families are indeed falling apart because of increasing financial hardship. That is what "they" want. This is the fruits of "their" plan unfolding. The sooner people wake up to what is happening the better. We are being boiled like frogs in the water.


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