FAMILIES living in the Taunton Deane area are being warned that strugging with debts could have a negative impact on their children’s welbeing.

According to a study by The Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity, 1,978 families in the Taunton Deane area are stuggling with their debts and repayments, putting extra stress on family relationships and potenially leading to their children being bullied.

The study suggests that living in a family that is trapped by debt can mean that children suffer because of cutbacks on food, clothing and heating so their parents can keep up with repayments.

It also reveals that children in families with financial difficulties say almost half of all family arguments are caused because of debt problems.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This research exposes the shocking reality of parents lying awake at night worring and unhappy children going without.

“Families in the South West are increasingly relying on debt as a way to make ends meet – but we’re in danger of ignoring the impact this is having on children now and in the future.”

The percentage of Taunton Deane families in a debt problem is estimated to be at 15 per cent. That figure is marginally lower than the South West regional average of 16 per cent but is comparitavely higher than most other areas in Somerset.