Relate survey: Money problems 'causing family strain'

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

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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