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Britain’s grandparents take on more parental responsibility

It seems that the “bank of gran and grandad” now extends to offer weekly childcare duties. According to research conducted by Zopa – grand-parental support is a key part of modern British family life, with 65% of Britain’s grandparents providing financial assistance for their grandchildren. On average, grandparents in the UK look after their grandchildren for seven days a month, which is worth almost £3,500 a year in free childcare, which adds up to a minimum of £500m across the UK.

More costs of raising an adult

This builds on research from Zopa last year that found that the average parent will spend £32,000 on their children during the early years of adulthood (18-30). Spiralling housing costs, increasing debt and job insecurity have combined to make it hard for today’s 20- and 30-somethings to find the financial security their parents had at their age.

Grand-parental support

It suggests that parents in the UK are becoming more reliant on their own parents for family support, and that the majority of grandparents are more than happy to offer help out. Half (51 per cent) of the over-55s questioned said that they support the government’s new proposals to allow grandparents to share maternity leave with their children, and of those still in work, over half (56 per cent) said they would consider using the scheme if and when it comes into effect to support their family.

These findings will come as a surprise to a quarter of grandparents, who said they provide more support than they expected to. One in five say that it is affecting their lifestyle.

Building a nest egg

Our research also found that over a third (35 per cent) of grandparents are saving money for their grandchildren’s futures, with peer-to-peer lending being one of a number of attractive investments available to them.

“It’s clear that grandparents are becoming even more important to modern British families by providing invaluable childcare each month and financial assistance through the bank of gran and grandad,” said Giles Andrews, Zopa’s co-founder and executive chairman. “With many over-55s continuing to support their offspring in later life, peer-to-peer lending is fast becoming a trusted investment option that provides a low risk yet predictable return.”

Read the full report: Boomers left holding the baby, Zopa research shows