Want pocket money? You’ll have to earn it

THE vast majority of parents expect their children to work around the home in order to earn their pocket money, according to a new survey.

A total of 84 per cent of mothers and fathers who give pocket money to their offspring say they ask their children to do household chores or tasks such as tidying their rooms before they hand over any cash.

The report, carried out by the charity Street Kids International UK and Opinium Research, found just over a third of parents use pocket money as an incentive for making children do their homework – refusing to hand over the weekly allowance until all school work is completed.

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However, some parents, around 16 per cent, still hand out pocket money regardless of work their children have done.

The study of almost 600 adults with children aged 17 and under found that the average British child across all age groups is given £364 a year in pocket money – around £7 a week.

Just over half of all youngsters are given regular spending money by their parents – rising to two thirds of parents with children between the ages of seven and ten or between 14 and 15 years – and three quarters with children aged 11 to 13.

Simon Watson, head of group community affairs at Royal Bank of Scotland, which offers financial education to secondary pupils through its MoneySense programme, said it was a good lesson for children to learn that they had to work to earn money. “Our 2011 Moneysense Panel survey showed local teens in Scotland are taking a real interest in their money, but it also highlighted that there is a growing gap between young people’s expectations and reality,” he said.

“It’s important that we equip them with the knowledge and skills to make considered financial decisions and those who need to earn their pocket money may well be better placed to understand the value of money and the importance of managing their finances.”

James Endersby, managing director of Opinium Research, pointed to the conditions being suffered by street children around the world – who Street Kids International UK works to help – and said that in some countries it could take up to a week for a street youth to earn the £7 handed out to many British youngsters.

“While it makes perfect sense for parents who have the means to provide their children with pocket money and for their kids to spend it on whatever they want, it is important to remain aware of those who are not in the same position,” he said.

Philippa Frankl, executive director of Street Kids International UK, added: “Children in the UK are very fortunate to not need to always work in order to have any cash to spend.”