COULD YOU AFFORD TO HAVE A BABY?

The recession could prevent young couples from having a baby.

The world is full of experts who believe they know when it is the best time to settle down and start a family.

Taking the plunge into becoming a parent is something which cannot be determined by a written set of rules.

You cannot measure when the time is right by the amount of boxes you tick on a list of requirements to become a good parent.

However thoughts of becoming a mother or father can be influenced by external factors such as financial issues, especially when it comes to younger parents who are just starting out in the working world.

The latest figures released for England and Wales by the Office for National Statistics state that there are less young women aged 18 and under that are having children.

Figures show that pregnancies under 18s fell by an average of 9.5% from 38,259 in 2009 to 34,633 in 2010. Conception in under 16s has also fallen by 6.8% from 7,158 to 6,674 in total from the previous year.

Julie Bentley, Chief Executive of the Family Planning Association (FPA) believes that it is a positive thing that younger people are having less children, she said:

“The fact that we’re seeing the lowest teenage pregnancy figures in England and Wales for over 40 years is because of the dedicated work of professionals in relationships and sex education, contraception and local services.

We must do all we can to keep the momentum going.”

The exact reason behind why figures have declined is still left a little blurred. Labour would argue that it was down to an initiative which they originally started, which is to increase the sex education to be taught in schools.

Others may believe the reason lies behind the big black cloud currently overshadowing the UK, also known as the recession.

Could the thought of not being able to afford to look after their children potentially stop people from becoming parents?

It has recently been reported that child care fees have increased, adding to the every day financial worries a parent can be faced with.

For working parents child care can be seen as a hard hurdle to overcome, and can become expensive when slotting around work.

The Daycare Trust released figures showing nursery care in Britain increase the hourly rate by 5.8% for a child aged under two, and 3.9% for a child aged two and over.

In London, the average cost for 25 hours nursery care for a child under two is £118.54 (equating to £6,164 per year).

The most expensive nursery reported in this year’s survey was located in the West Midlands, costing £11 per hour. Parents using this nursery for 25 hours per week could therefore conceivably pay £14,300 per year.

Child care at these prices can cause great concern for many families in particular for those with more than one child.

Is there any wonder why soon to be parents are feeling the pinch?

The big debate relies on whether people should plan ahead and determine whether they can afford to have children, without relying on other benefits to help fuel their family lives.

David Cameron caused controversy over his comments when interviewed on ITV1’s This Morning in 2011 when he said:

“Should we do more to help people who want to work hard and do the right thing? Yes.

“I get people saying “we waited before we got married until we could afford it, we waited till we could afford to have children, we waited and then we managed to get a house and I see someone down the road do none of those responsible things and they get put up in a council house, they have as many children as they want.

“They’re not thinking like I’m thinking”.”

However a lot of people would argue that financial worries should not stop you from becoming a parent.

So when is the ‘right’ time to start a family? When your young, fit and healthy or when your older, wiser and more established in your career?

Either way it is clear that age is not a reflection on whether you make a decent parent, but more about the stable upbringing you can offer a child.

As your money worries start to fall upon you, you turn to friends and family searching for that glimmer of hope to solving your financial troubles. When you ask how did they cope they simply say ‘you just do’. Never mind, I suppose there is always the lottery.

About Leanne Daisy Johnson

I am an aspiring young journalist currently studying an MA in Journalism with a background in Fashion Communication.
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