Raising a child costs at least 150,000 pounds

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The current economic climate makes it difficult to justify those little luxuries, like shopping in Waitrose, running a car . . . and having a child. A new study shows that it costs nearly £150,000 to raise a child to the age of 18. And that's assuming parents don't opt for private education. For those families on low or average earnings, the struggle to raise children is becoming chronic.

The Child Poverty Action Group findings covered the basic costs of food, clothing, heating and other items, showing a 4 percent rise on last year. The costs are outstripping wages and benefits, while child benefit payments have not increased since 2012. The "party of the family" may be the lead partner in the coalition government, but it is apparent that their benefit-slashing initiatives mean that raising a family is becoming prohibitively costly for average earners.

The CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham told The Guardian: "Every parent knows it's getting harder to pay for the essentials their children need, and they don't feel like politicians see them as a priority. Child benefit and child tax credit have been cut at the very time families need them most."

Benefit crackdowns intended to target the long-term unemployed are also being felt keenly by families, plunging more children into poverty. Working families have also seen their incomes diminished by the costs of childcare, which have risen by 5.9 percent, well above wage rises. Non-working families are facing additional costs such as council tax.

Squeezed families may be a key voter group at the next election, looking for a party that will improve their conditions. With many struggling to obtain the minimum basic income to support a family, there is pressure on the Labour opposition to come up with a convincing policy to help families keep their heads above water.

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