Families are already worried about a “cost-of-Christmas crisis” which is affecting their festive plans months ahead of winter, research suggests.

A study by parenting website Mumsnet found that most families are more worried about the cost of the festive season than they normally would be.

A survey of more than 1,000 Mumsnet users found that two out of five are more likely to buy gifts that people need rather than want.

A comparison with last year also showed a 31 per cent drop in the number of users who plan to donate to food banks over the Christmas period, with many saying they can no longer afford it.

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Respondents said they were particularly worried about the effect of the rising cost of energy.

Comments included:

– “Very worried. We can’t afford the heating this winter, or cost-of-living rises, so we are expecting to be poor, cold and miserable as we cannot afford gifts for our children.”

– “Worried – might have heating for Christmas Day, but not any other day in winter. Where am I going to find the money for presents – as most (of) the money saved has gone on fuel and energy. Worried, scared and upset.”

– “Worried sick. We can barely afford to eat at the moment, so when the energy price rises come into force in October, I don’t know how we will manage as we are already skipping meals.”

– “Worried about bills. Worried about being able to afford heating at Christmas.”

– “Terribly sick with worry that I won’t be able to afford anything this year. I’m absolutely dreading it.”

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Justine Roberts, Mumsnet chief executive said: “We knew from our forums that, like families across the country, Mumsnet users are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

“But we were shocked at the level of fear and apprehension that this research revealed. Mums told us repeatedly that rather than looking forward to the festive season, they are – in their words – “sick with worry” about the cost of Christmas.

“We’ve heard precious little so far from both candidates for the Tory leadership on how they will tackle soaring energy bills, sky-high childcare costs and ever increasing food and fuel bills. This has to change.

“The next prime minister must take office with a plan to immediately ease financial pressures on families – or this winter could be catastrophic.”


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