Oct 25 2013
One in two adults has received financial support from their parents, a new study shows.
A report by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has found that the "bank of mum and dad" is an essential source of welfare for people, particularly those on low incomes.
Of 2,565 people of all ages polled, 55% (1,400) said they had received money, of whom almost half that number (52% or 628) earn less than £20,000.
Almost one in four low earners (23%) said that without the money they would not have been able to survive.
The 25-34 age group across all income levels had the highest proportion of individuals turning to a parent for help, with 72% (300) saying they had received money from them.
The new survey is part of an SMF report called Family Fortunes, which shows the extent of inter-generational support in low-income families.
Calling on the Government to do more to facilitate family-based welfare, the report's author, Ryan Shorthouse, said: "We tend to think of the 'bank of mum and dad' as being about better-off families helping their children get on the housing ladder or pay for a wedding. But our research reveals that about half of families on low incomes receive regular financial and practical support, typically helping them to pay for everyday items, keep out of debt and make ends meet.
"The impact of such transfers is generally very positive, both for the donor and recipient. But not receiving support from the wider family can cause deprivation and isolation. When thinking about poverty, policymakers need to be more aware of this."
The think tank recommends the introduction of government-backed tax-efficient "Family Trust Funds" to help family members across generations to inve st in a tax-efficient trust managed by a representative from each household. Decisions on distribution would be determined by the trustees, and families would be prompted to enrol on receipt of child benefit.
Mr Shorthouse said: " With the recovery slow and public spending still under pressure, policymakers shouldn't solely focus on wages and benefits to boost living standards and reduce poverty.
"Family is a vital backstop for people on low-incomes, and practical measures like a government-backed trust fund could make a real difference.
"It's time for policymakers to be more creative and look at ways to enable people to untap the resources of their wider family."