Almost a third of Britain’s first time mums have been forced into the red through a drop in income during maternity leave, racking up on average nearly £2,500 of debt, a new study reveals.
Only a quarter of new mums feel financially prepared, with one in 10 borrowing from their nearest and dearest and one in seven resorting to credit cards, loans and overdrafts, according to research by uSwitch.com.
However, new mums aren’t necessarily unprepared because they are rushing to start a family – almost one in four couples delay starting a family because of the cost, the comparison site said.
The rising cost of living, including a 21 per cent hike in energy bills and an almost six per cent rise in travel fares has put pressure on consumers.
But the depleted income for mums-to-be during maternity leave could push many over the edge, the switching service warned.
Those going on maternity leave see their monthly household income almost halve from around £2,866 to just £1,654 – yet more than four in 10 don’t save any money to cover their time off, the study shows.
At the same time as experiencing reduced incomings, first-time mums typically splash out more than £1,400 during their maternity leave on top of an average spend of £1,500 beforehand.
The financial strain is so great that one in 10 mums are forced to cut their maternity leave short while nine per cent have to rethink their plans to return to work.
Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, said: “Planning for a baby is tough at the best of times, but in the face of the soaring cost of living there is even more pressure on family finances.”
She added: “More needs to be done by the Government to help families cope with the financial burden of parenthood.”
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