Would-be parents ‘delay having children because of cost-of-living crisis’

Increases in the cost of living are causing people to put off having children, according to research, as a growing number say rising prices are affecting how they plan their families.

A survey of more than 4,000 people by insurer Royal London found that 22% of people aged 18 to 34 have made changes to family planning because of the crisis.

Meanwhile, 8% of people in the age bracket said they have delayed having children because they do not have the money.

The research found that worsening economic conditions mean the average family with young children has seen expenses rise by more than £1,000 a month.

Sarah Pennells, consumer finance specialist at Royal London, said: “We’ve been tracking how people have been responding to the financial challenges of the rising cost of living for more than two years and it’s clear we’re now starting to see that people are making changes to their longer-term life plans.

“When prices for food and energy were increasing, we saw people cut back and make changes to their spending and shopping habits, but now we’re seeing that some major life decisions are being delayed as people are weighing up whether or not they can afford to act on the plans they’d made.”

Last week official figures showed UK inflation fell to the lowest level in nearly three years in April as energy prices continued to cool.

Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, down from 3.2% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Sharp rises in the cost of food, energy and housing in recent years have made the cost of living a central issue in the upcoming General Election.

It comes after similar research by the Resolution Foundation showed that the crisis has changed what households do with their money, with consumption being cut by more than the fall in incomes.

The UK squeezed more than a decade’s worth of “normal” inflation into just three years, according to the Foundation, which is focused on improving the living standards for those on low to middle incomes.

The Foundation said that households generally have cut down sharply on the amount they consume during the cost-of-living crisis.

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