Pressure From Family, Friends And TV Plunges Brits Into Debt

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brits get into debtPressure from family, friends and TV advertising is plunging Brits into debt at Christmas.

The latest Disposable Income Index (DII) published today by ISA provider Scottish Friendly reveals that many British families feel pressure to create the perfect Christmas and are taking out loans or spending more on credit cards in order to buy gifts.

Nearly six in ten households say they make sacrifices to buy Christmas presents and of those with children 31 per cent are relying on credit to fund their purchases.

The pressure to have a perfect Christmas and the impact this has on Brits’ spending habits comes from a range of sources, including other family members, TV advertising, friends, retailers and social media.

With this perceived pressure affecting many Brits, more than three quarters of households with children say they make some form of financial sacrifice in order to buy Christmas presents, compared to just 45 per cent of those without.

Most worryingly, just over one in eight families who are making sacrifices say they delay paying household bills to buy presents, while one in ten postpone their rent or mortgage payments.

Calum Bennie, savings expert at Scottish Friendly, says: “Christmas is a time for giving and it seems that spirit is alive and well in Britain in 2017.

“However, our report shows that the season of goodwill is putting significant social and financial pressures on us.

“Family, friends, TV advertising, retailers and social media are all combining to push us even harder in pursuit of a ‘perfect’ Christmas and in many cases that pressure is having a detrimental financial impact.”

The quarterly report, compiled in conjunction with leading think-tank the Social Market Foundation, shows that the median UK household has £1,126 left each month after paying for absolute essentials of housing, energy, water and a broader basket of goods including groceries, transport, childcare and broadband internet.

Unsurprisingly, households with children are the group most likely to feel under pressure to have the perfect Christmas.

Half of families admit to feeling this way to compared to less than a quarter of households without children, which may explain why the former are more likely to be making some form of financial sacrifice.

And a similar issue can be found among millennials.

Almost half say they feel pressured to have a perfect Christmas and more than three quarters report making sacrifices to buy presents.

One in five say are they are likely to increase spending on their credit card as a result while 14 per cent take out an unsecured or payday loan.

On average Brits anticipate spending £342 on Christmas presents this year with £303 going on credit cards.

Paying back the money they borrow for Christmas is also expected to take some time with the average household saying it takes four and a half months.

As a result many households are unlikely to be able to clear their Christmas debts until April 23rd 2018.

Bennie continues: “Unsurprisingly many people want to forget financial problems at this time of year but splurging over Christmas is leaving many households with a hangover they can’t shift for several months.

By all means enjoy the holidays, but don’t become too reckless in the face of peer pressure or idealised visions of what Christmas should be from TV advertising or retailers. With a bit of planning and restraint you will find you won’t end up out of pocket and in debt and will still be able to have an enjoyable Christmas”

For more information about the Disposable Income Index, visit

When Is Your Local Pharmacy Open This Festive Period

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When is your local pharmacy open this Christmas and New Year?Like most of us, pharmacists will be enjoying a well-earned break over the festive season, meaning it’s best to make sure we have what we need before they close up.

Many pharmacies will close and some will operate special opening hours, over the Christmas period. A small handful will even open up specially for a short time on Christmas Day so that anyone in urgent need of medication or other items can still get hold of them.

Speaking for the Hampshire CCG Partnership*, Dr Andy Whitfield, Clinical Chair of NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “At Christmas and New Year pharmacies operate different opening hours because of the public holidays.

“Because of this it pays to know which pharmacies in your local area will be opening, and when. That way, if anyone in your household runs out of medication, falls ill or suffers an injury, you can go straight to a pharmacy that’s open and you won’t waste precious time travelling from one closed pharmacy to another.”

Anybody relying on a repeat prescription is urged to arrange it now so that they do not forget, and run out of their medication over the Christmas break.

All local residents are reminded to make sure that they have access to a well-stocked self-care kit at home at all times, particularly over the Christmas and New Year holidays. A good self-care kit can cater for many minor ailments and could mean that a person does not have to seek medical treatment.

For details on what to include in a self-care kit, visit:

You can also seek advice and support by calling NHS111. Only go to Accident & Emergency or call 999 in a genuine emergency.

Visit here to find your local pharmacy hours:

Under 25s Are Most Time Generous Generation

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The under 25’s, often dubbed Generation Z, should really be the called Generation V as they are far more likely to volunteer their time to support a good cause than any other age group.

A new study by the Co-op, issued today (15 December) to coincide with Local Charities Day, shows that more than half (52 per cent) of those aged 18-25 have given their time to support a charitable organisation in the past 12 months.

The Co-op research, which shines a spotlight on charity giving, also reveals that on average Brits give £100 (£99.45) a year with men on average tending to donate more than women - £111.79 per year compared to £90.28.

However, women (82 per cent) are more likely to donate their time to a good cause than men (78 per cent) and are significantly more likely to have volunteered over the past year (43 per cent) compared to 34 per cent for men. Southampton with an average contribution of £142 per person is the most generous city in UK.

When it comes to the psychology of giving, there appear to be two main drivers - a sense of responsibility and a desire to hand something back - that motivate Brits to give so generously. More specifically 43 per cent say that they contribute to charity as they feel a responsibility to support others, while 42 per cent want to give something back to society.

However, the feel good factor should not be underestimated. Just under a third (31 per cent) admit that a key reason for giving is because it makes them feel happy and 23 per cent say it makes them feel better about themselves.

According to the research, half of Brits (51 per cent) say they donate the same amount as five years ago but one in three (33 per cent) say they feel more inclined to give compared to 2012 – double the figure who feel less inclined (17 per cent).

Rufus Olins, Group Communities and Campaigns Director, at the Co-op said: “One of the most encouraging findings is the civic spirit shown by young people. It is clear that the younger generation, which is often criticised for its selfishness, want to participate and engage even more than their parents or grand-parents.

“At a time when inequality is threatening the wellbeing of our communities, it is heartening to see that the appetite exists to reverse the trend.

“This comes as no surprise to me because as part of my role at the Co-op, which has supported 8,000 local good causes via its membership scheme this year, I am privileged to see on a daily basis the fantastic work that these small charities, run by armies of volunteers, are doing to improve their own communities.”!

Psychologist Donna Dawson, said: “The 18-to-25 year age-group have shown that the desire to change things for the better in our society is being instilled at a young age; and their combination of energy, enthusiasm and idealism sets a sterling example for the rest of us. Times may be tough, but this seems only to have increased British compassion and concern, rather than diminished it.

“It is in caring for each other and supporting the less fortunate that the true values of a nation are revealed. Amidst continued economic uncertainty, it is heart-warming to see that people are more aware than ever that their charitable gifts and actions can make a huge difference, whether on a local or a national level. It is also a ‘win-win’ activity: the giving of our time and money to charity also helps us to feel better about ourselves.”

The report is published after the Co-op announced that it has distributed £20m to some 8,000 local good causes since it launched its membership scheme in September 2016.

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