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 496.

    I was brought up in the 50s and we suffered real hardship and my parents used to argue all the time about money. The way we lived would have been luxury to their parents who had it far worse. It`s a generation thing. The current generation always feel hard done by but their parents know differently. The, "I want it all now," days are over.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Working several years as an employment advisor and also in housing. I have seen the effects of unemployment and rising living costs of huge range of people ALL with DIFFERENT circumstances. Most unemployed are desperate to work again.We need changes to the benefit system but making it harder for people to survive is not the answer. Living costs need to reduce or wages to rise/tax limit increase

  • rate this

    Comment number 336.

    30 years ago my mum stayed at home and looked after me and 2 sisters until we could go to school.We lived in a 3 bed detached house and were comfortable on a deputy headteachers wage.Now my wife(a doctor) and I(a headteacher)can't afford the deposit for a house.I don't buy the necessity vs luxury arguement.Housing,fuel,energy and food are now vastly more expensive than ever,these are not luxuries!

  • 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 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.


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