Families ‘just about managing’ until cancer strikes – CLIC Sargent warning for Autumn Statement

Families who were financially stable until they were struck by childhood and young people’s cancer must be supported in the upcoming Autumn Statement, CLIC Sargent warns.

The charity, which fights for young lives struck by cancer, welcomes news that chancellor Philip Hammond plans to focus on families who are ‘just about managing’ (JAMs) in tomorrow’s statement.

However it warns that many families who believe themselves to be financially stable, can tumble into debt when their child is diagnosed with cancer.

Kate Lee, Chief Executive for the charity, said: “We are very familiar with the phrase ‘just about managing’, because that is how so many families we support describe themselves prior to their child’s cancer diagnosis.

“Then suddenly their costs skyrocket, by an average of £600 per month during treatment, and their incomes often drop as many stop work to be there for their child. These circumstances pushed 61% of families we spoke to earlier this year into debt.

“We know that travel and food are the biggest costs for parents whose child is going through cancer treatment. Therefore any announcement on fuel duty, food prices or childcare costs that could free up family budgets would have a major impact.

“CLIC Sargent works to support these families with a number of services, including our 10 Homes from Home, providing free accommodation near treatment centres, and our financial grants programme, which gave our £1.1 million in grants to families last year. But these families need help from the Government as well.

“It’s not right or fair that a family already reeling from a cancer diagnosis can find itself falling into debt. We would like to see the Chancellor taking action to support those families via their cost of travel, car parking costs and funeral costs, so that they can cope as best as possible through what can be the most challenging time.”

Notes to editors

For more information, an interview or images please contact Nick Edmondson on 020 8752 2856 or email nick.edmondson@clicsargent.org.uk. Outside office hours please call 08448 481189.

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 11 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent

When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors

Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.