Child costs skyrocketing new SVP report has warned

Child costs skyrocketing new SVP report has warned

Parents are facing huge costs due to soaring inflation which has seen products like nappies and baby formula increase by 84% and 37% respectively, a new report from Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) has warned.

The Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL), published on Tuesday and organised by Vincentian MESL Research Centre at SVP, seeks to lay out the basic needs of people to live with dignity.

The report found that costs for younger children are considerably high, and it has the largest increase for all child age-groups. From 2020 to 2024, infant’s needs increased significantly by 22.4%, with a 37% increase in baby formula and 84% in nappies.

Infant’s food budget has increased by 27.3% in both urban and rural households from 2020 to 2024. Which is the highest raise from all MESL food budgets. The report explains that “this notable increase is caused by the food inflation experienced across all MESL food budgets over the past number of years”.

The cost of a child remains higher for older children, aged 12 and over. This cost is at €149 per week, which is roughly 60% higher than the minimum needs of younger children.

The 2024 report shows certain stabilisation in costs, with an average decrease of 1.9% in the core MESL (excluding housing, childcare and the effects of secondary benefits) from March 2023 to March 2024. However, there has been a cumulative increase of 16.8% from 2020 to 2024.

The energy costs also remain higher than 2020 levels, with an increase of 62.7% for urban and 54.0% for rural households since that year. Compared to 2024 energy cost for urban and rural households dropped 24.9% and 12.2% respectively.

In the last 12 months, the MESL food budget has increased by an average of 1.4% for urban households and 1.6% for rural ones. This is a small rise, compared to the increased in 2023, when the food budget represented the largest cost of a household.

The adequacy of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) remains a concern, as the income shortfall for urban single adults in full-time minimum wage employment has been lessened to €130 per week.