How the cost of living is affecting families this winter and what you can do to help

Wednesday 18 October 2023
Girl eating dinner

The cost of living is having a shocking impact on families across the UK. But did you know that families with children are among the hardest hit? In this blog, we highlight how inflation is affecting families in the UK and how you can help.

Recent research has highlighted the difference between households with children and those without when it comes to managing the cost-of-living crisis and high inflation. The figures show that one in five households with children – or an estimated 1.5 million households – are in serious financial difficulties. This could mean struggling to make rent or mortgage payments, or falling behind on essential household bills like gas and electricity.

Households with children are three times more likely to have fallen behind on bills and twice as likely to be behind on rent or mortgage payments than households without.

Do you want to help?

All children deserve safe and happy childhoods. Help us reach more care experienced young people

Donate now

What does high inflation mean for households with children?

Parents and carers are struggling to balance childcare costs with high living costs. It's becoming more difficult to make ends meet and to give their children the safe and happy childhoods they deserve. The cost-of-living crisis has become a ‘cost of children crisis’. This can have a worrying impact on a family's mental and physical health.

It makes me feel awful that I can’t provide basic things for her. It’s just degrading as a parent.

Charlene, a single mum who received support from an Action for Children Children's Centre

Charlene is a single mum who relies on Universal Credit because of mental health issues and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Like many parents, high inflation has made her life as a parent incredibly difficult.

I can’t work because of health issues, so I rely on Universal Credit. The money I get doesn’t go far enough. I’ve cut back on absolutely everything, but I’ve still had times when I’ve looked in the cupboards and they’re empty.


Household bills have also become near unaffordable: ‘Keeping up with my gas bill has become a huge problem. I have a chronic lung condition called COPD, and my daughter has asthma, so I must keep the house warm in the winter. It makes me feel awful that I can’t provide basic things for her. It’s just degrading as a parent.

As the months get colder, more families and parents like Charlene will be struggling.

Boy looking into the camera holding a teddy bear

How you can help families in need this winter

I don’t know what I’d have done without the staff at the children’s centre. They’re always there to talk to, and I never feel judged.


Help us be a vital lifeline for children, young people and families

Donate Now

Thankfully, Charlene reached out to Action for Children for help and through our services, her and her daughter have received food parcels, school uniform, and advice on budgeting and bills. But with your help, we could reach even more families and children.

Keep up to date with Action for Children!

Sign up to our newsletter