The cost of raising a child has hit an all-time high, according to a new report, heaping pressure on families already coping with cuts to child benefit.
Figures from insurer LV='s annual Cost of a Child Report show that the cost of a bringing a child up to the age of 21 has reached ??222,458 - more than ??4,000 higher than last year and up ??82,000 on ten years ago.
The insurer estimates that this is set to reach ??350,000 by 2023 if costs continue to increase at the same rate.
The report will be a further blow for hard-working families ascash-strappedparents continue to struggle with rising household bills and wage freezes and cuts to child benefit. The right to receive the payments, worth ??20.30 a week for the first child and ??13.40 for further children, was removed earlier this month from households with one earner on a salary of more than ??60,000 and reduced for families where one member is paid more than ??50,000.
The research published today shows costs have risen in all areas over the last decade, except for clothing, down 5pc, with education seeing the biggest increase.
As a result, more than three-quarters of parents have been forced to make cutbacks tomake ends meet. According to LV=, more than four in ten arereining inspending on luxuries such as holidays, a third are also cutting back how much they spend onessentialssuch as food.
Education AUTHENTIC JORDAN SHOES and childcare remains the biggest expenditure for parents. The cost of education, including uniforms, after school clubs and university costs, has shot up from ??32,593 to ??72,832 per child in the last ten years.
Childcare costs have also rocketed, up from ??39,613 in 2003 to ??63,738 today.
The rising cost of nursery care is high on the agenda for the Coalition. But it recently backed away from plans to give every parent with children under five tax relief worth about ??2,000 per child. It had beenbilledas the principal policy to emerge from the Coalition??s Mid-Term Review.
The cost of electronic gadgets has presented a new financial strain on family budgets, with annual spend increasing to ??302, as have holidays, up from ??11,458 a decade ago to ??16,195. However, the increase on each is likely to be due to families committing more of theirdiscretionary spendingrather than being just down to price rises.
??The cost of raising a child continues to soar and is now at a ten year high,?? said Mark Jones, head of protection at LV=.
??Everyone wants the best for their children, but the rising cost of living is pushing parent??s finances to the limit. There seems to be no sign of this trend reversing. If the costs associated with bringing up children continue to rise at the same pace, parents could face a bill of over ??350,000 in ten years?? time.??