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Although the health of children has always been a topic of great of importance, experiencing a global pandemic this past year has forced many of us to reconsider the true value of health.

In a recent article by the University of Manchester, poor child health is linked to decreased productivity later in life, particularly in Northern regions of England. Using a range of child health indicators and Registry Trust monetary judgment data, it proved interesting to assess the relationship between high child health deprivation and debt. This blog also highlights the importance of becoming ‘financially fit’ and looking after our physical and mental wellbeing.

The variables used for analysis were:

-Teenage mothers

-Infant Mortality

-Child Mortality

-Smoker at the time of delivering the baby

-Low baby birth weight

-Children in Care

-Hospital admissions that are alcohol related for Under 18’s

-Number of judgments per 10,000 of the population (debt cases)

The idea behind this analysis is that reduced child health will reduce financial stability later in life, making debt a greater risk. Interestingly, this idea is reflected using Registry Trust data as areas of high child health deprivation also have high levels of indebtedness.

RT child health blog table.png

Data: https://fingertips.phe.org.uk/profile/child-health-profiles/data#page/3/gid/1938133228/pat/15/par/E92000001/ati/6/are/E12000008/iid/92904/age/173/sex/4/cid/4/page-options/tre-ao-0_car-ao-0_car-do-0. Method: Rank of 1-9 of all column variables. 9 represents the highest level of deprivation. The lowest level of each variable is labelled a valued 1. Health deprivation scores and judgment scored are totalled and ranked. Then the two are totalled and ranked to produce a final score (CDFV).

Key points:

-The North East has both the highest child health deprivation scores and highest judgment levels (CCJ debts).

-The North West has the second highest levels of child deprivation and second highest judgment levels.

-Yorkshire and Humber has the third highest child deprivation score and the third highest judgment levels.

-These three regions mentioned above contain both the most deprived children and highest levels of debt. Each are located in the North.

-The North East is particularly disadvantaged, scoring the highest or second highest deprivation score for 7 of the 8 variables (including the highest score for indebtedness). Low levels of infant mortality are the only positive outcome for the North East.

-The region with the lowest deprivation score is the East. In the East, the deprivation score is less than average for each variable included in the study. The East has particularly low levels of children in care, and scores well for the number of under 18’s admitted to hospital for alcohol related issues, and the number of mothers smoking at birth.

-The second and third lowest total deprivation CDFV (child health and financial vulnerability) scores are the South West and South East.

-Again, a North: South divide emerges.

The outcomes of this study reflect the ideas of the article released by the University of Manchester; that regions in the North suffer greatest from child health deprivation. The pattern may ensue that poor child health causes poorer productivity later in life, resulting in unemployment or loss of income, and eventually indebtedness. COVID-19 has posed as a huge public health threat; therefore, no time is better than now to break this chain.

It is important that the North receives greater investment into the availability of support and advice for child health, employment, and debt. It is also important that residents, particularly in the vulnerable regions mentioned above, aim to repay any outstanding debts before it escalates into a County Court Judgment and impacts their creditworthiness, potentially making them more financial vulnerable and creating a spiral of other issues. Studies have shown that increased financial worries correlate with poor mental health. If an individual has already received a CCJ they should look into repaying and satisfying the judgment, ideally within one month so the judgment is cancelled and removed from the Register. Unfair or wrongly issued judgments can also be cancelled and those that are unable to pay can get support from debt charities and creditors in setting up affordable repayment plans.

Our public website Trust Online has a bank of ‘Help Topics’ with answers to common questions about CCJ debt, including how to check for and deal with it before it becomes a problem.

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