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 214.

    209.fontainec - "..."Economic impact cannot continue to trump social wellbeing."

    So we should stop trying to live within our means and leave the debts to our kids? Is that what Relate means by "social wellbeing"?"

    Coalition austerity is making the deficit/debt WORSE.....if you don't think we should leave debts to our kids then sticking with austerity is utterly the wrong way to do it....

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    If they pulled us out of the EU the problems would start to vanish and we would get back to normality and probably start earning more as a result..then we could lower tax's again an everything would work out but they won't do that they like spending our money on the EU in other country's not our own plus let these EU people have our jobs. they are making the country a joke. Listen to us.mob rule

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    Comment #196 ... garbage Brap!
    Typical arrogance from someone within the financial sector who mostly responsible for the financial mess the country is in.
    We've been on SVR for about 10 years ... and are have been paying 1.5% for the more than 3 years. No financial advice required to save me thousands of pounds thanks!

  • Comment number 211.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    I got a 2 grand payrise this year, but the fear of what's round the corner still makes my wife and I feel vulnerable and more thrift.
    There are many more people that do not have such breathing space and their desperation has tested their marriage.It's nothing new, just watch "boys from the blackstuff" a great illustration of Thatchers Britain and how families were torn apart.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    "Economic impact cannot continue to trump social wellbeing."

    So we should stop trying to live within our means and leave the debts to our kids? Is that what Relate means by "social wellbeing"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    182.David Bale
    "Whilst Joe Bloggs is bombarded daily with Loans"

    What I find interesting is that the people who demonise Labour for allowing the debt fueled private spending which caused the banking crisis are not now calling for what would prevent a repetition - a restriction on personal credit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Here we go again! It's not the State's responsibility to pick up the tab for irresponsible people who choose to live on the never. If families break up it's up to them, not the rest of us. We need to stop this culture right now, if they can't afford to live together then they should also consider whether they can afford to live apart. The State needs to stand up for those standing for themselves!

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    181/200 "What annoys me is that the people who were the main culprits for the economic mess we are in, have probably enjoyed a most comfortable Christmas... oblivious to the misery that they have caused" - Absolutely agree, Labour and their public sector masters probably had a cracking time, they have lovely index linked pensions too! Save for poor Scargill who lost his free house. Sad face. : (

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    197. jay
    Waste of time commenting on articles like[this] as they are a distraction.


    Yet you comment anyway! - Oh how I love the irony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    17 Minutes ago

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

    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.


    £69.9 billion is hardly a drop in the ocean.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    What on earth is happening to Global finance. We heard over the holiday
    that the wealth of the top 1000 people has increased by 120 billion since 2008. more than the whole of UK deficit. and yet the other 60 million of us have to pay more to make up the deficit. We also hear that a number of silly rich people have filtered away trillion into off shore funding, REVOLUTION, REVOLUTION GET IT BACK

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.


    People look after their own, and the elected government is doing just that.

    What is really sad is that the previous Government was supposed to be a Labour Government & Labour are supposed to be for the ordinary people. But under Blair & Brown the rich got richer. Nu-labour helped the rich and allowed ordinary people to get into debt which in turn made the rich richer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    There is only one thing that causes the financial problems of the planet.


    No matter how you analyse, disect, debate, scrutinise, evaluate etc.,etc., the root cause is GREED.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    181. gfr1
    What annoys me is that the people who were the main culprits for the economic mess we are in, have probably enjoyed a most comfortable Christmas with all the nice trappings and are oblivious to the misery that they have caused to a great deal of law abiding citizens of this country.
    I totally agree, but they are not oblivious to the misery, they just don't care! - I'm all right jack!

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    The suffering has already started, with many more cuts scheduled.

    Such a quick decline would suggest that most poor and disabled have only ever been surviving and that the cuts are targeting the penniless?

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    The love of money is the root of all evil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Waste of time commenting on articles like as they are a distraction. The BBC heavily censors comments. Look today and see what few articles we are allowed to comment on. It’s a joke, a con and edging towards fascism. The BBC is dumbed down and restricts free speech. Shame on the BBC...

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    49 Minutes ago
    @12. Mortgages have not been protected from price rises - look at what santander have done to their SVR"

    SVR is not an accurate measure of mortgage prices. In my experience as a broker, no customer stays on SVR unless they cant be bothered to keep track of their mortgage. People are too lazy to shop around, and keep costs low, that is the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    We've only just begun.............................................................................
    You want change? You need to start taking responsability YOURSELVES, and by this I do not mean 'stop buying what you can't afford' I mean - read, get some Trotsky and Marx, it is more relevant today than ever. CAPITALISM HAS FAILED YOU.


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