A survey carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions has found that 36% of families in Ireland find themselves in debt due to the back-to-school spend.

It also found that increasing numbers are turning to moneylenders to cope with the cost.

However, the survey also revealed that overall costs are falling.

According to the survey parents of primary school children are, on average, in debt of €367 while for secondary school parents, the average debt reported is €443. 

When asked why their preferred option was a moneylender, 46% of this group said they felt they would be guaranteed the money and that the approval processes in banks and credit unions would be more difficult. 

The study found that overall, costs have fallen somewhat since last year, with parents of primary school students spending around €49 less this year than in 2017; and parents of secondary school students spending €22 less than last year.

In general, the decrease was due mainly to falls in the prices for extracurricular activities, transport and after-school care.