UK children receive 11% rise in pocket money, outpacing inflation, data shows

While millions of parents are battling for pay rises that keep up with the cost of living, Britain’s youngsters have received an 11% increase in their average annual “income”, outpacing inflation, according to new data.

The figures on children’s pocket money and earnings – part of what was claimed to be the most in-depth study of the UK’s “youth economy” – also found that six-year-olds had enjoyed the biggest “pay rise”, in the form of a 34% annual increase.

Meanwhile, average earnings from babysitting leapt 24% in a year to top £20, while some savvy children were able to prise cash out of their parents for “jobs” such as making someone a coffee or smiling for a family photo.

The data was based on the finances of more than 125,000 children and was collected from user activity on the NatWest Rooster Money pocket money app and prepaid debit card.

Whether it was down to parents deciding to shield their children’s finances from the worst of the cost of living crisis, or an improvement in youngsters’ ability to negotiate a better financial deal and monetise small tasks, the study – based on data collected between 1 March 2022 and 28 February this year – suggested that British kids have fared a lot better financially than many adults.

The headline finding was that average earnings increased by 11% to £333.84 a year, or £6.42 a week – outpacing CPI inflation, which was 10.4% for the same period.

However, this was despite pocket money routines becoming far less consistent, with only 57% of children receiving a regular allowance – down from 65% in 2021-22.

Instead of committing to hand over a fixed regular sum, parents have been leaning towards one-off payments, using special occasions and good behaviour as opportunities for extra generosity.

At the same time, said the study authors, entrepreneurial youngsters were increasingly turning to side hustles to ensure a steady stream of income. Revenues from reselling possessions such as clothes increased by 6%, and tutoring benefited from a huge premium, with average earnings for each job soaring 102% to £16.95.

While many would expect pocket money to rise with age, it was 16- to 17-year-olds who enjoyed the highest weekly pay cheque, at £12.75. On average, 17-year-olds took home a slightly lower £12.59 – perhaps reflecting increasing financial independence.

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The NatWest Rooster Money app is aimed at children aged three upwards, while the prepaid debit card is for those aged six to 17.

Will Carmichael, the brand’s chief executive, said: “Faced with less regular pocket money, kids have been really entrepreneurial and proactive this year.

“This is true in its purest sense with the soaring proceeds from side hustles, but also in the business-minded approach they are taking to earning around the house.”

The Guardian