British parents admit raiding children's piggy banks

LONDON, Dec 25, 2009 (AFP) - One fifth of parents in recession-hit Britain admit they have dipped into their children's savings accounts to make ends meet, a survey for a financial services company said Friday.

About 22 percent of parents said they had been forced to raid their children's savings, with many needing extra cash to pay bills and unexpected car repairs, the survey for Engage Mutual Assurance said. Just under half of parents said they borrowed between 200 and 500 pounds (222-555 euros, 319-798 dollars), according to the survey by OnePoll.

Most parents in Britain, which is still in recession after being hit hard by the global economic crisis, took the money only when there was no alternative. Eight out of 10 said they saw it as a loan, to be repaid when possible.Nevertheless, 30 percent admitted they felt guilty about borrowing the cash from their children and 27 percent said they felt sad that their financial situation had become so dire.

“It is evident from this survey that the majority of parents who have borrowed money from their children have only done so because they found themselves in a desperate situation,” said Karl Elliott, marketing director at Engage Mutual, which provides children's trust funds.

“Almost six in 10 adults admit their financial situation has significantly worsened over the past 18 months.
“And whilst it might be possible to budget for everyday spending and the usual bills and direct debits, it is the unexpected costs which people find hard to cope with.”Four of out of 10 needed the money to pay bills, 20 percent for car repairs, 14 percent for a family holiday and 12 percent to cover house repairs.

OnePoll questioned 3,000 parents during December.

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