MORE than 3000 families across Thurrock are struggling with debt.

Altogether, 3310 families amounting to 19% of the area’s population are currently suffering with debt crisis – according to a study carried out by The Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity.

The research also shows that up to 5767 children in the area are living in families that are trapped in debt.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Families in the East of England 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.

“We cannot allow children to pay the price of debt.”

Across the area families owe a total of £6,162,009 in bills and loans - each struggling household is behind on payments by an average of £1,862.

Mr Reed added: “With little savings to fall back on, it can take just one unexpected setback - like illness or being made redundant – to tip a family over the edge and into a debt trap that can feel impossible to escape from.

“This research exposes the shocking reality of parents lying awake at night worrying and unhappy children going without. Many families are feeling the squeeze and parents struggling on low wages are battling just to pay the bills.”

A national survey found almost two and a half million children across the country live in families owing a total of £4.8 billion in bills and loans.