Introduction

  • Children receive an average of £11.20 in pocket money every week, according to latest research!
  • Those aged 5 to 10 years, receive £6.40 on average a week.
  • £16.30 is the average for those aged 11 to 16 years.

These figures come from a survey of children and young people living with their families. But what about children and young people who live away from home?

If you need help with your rights, please go to the People and places part of our site.

Living away from home does not make you any different from other children and young people when it comes to pocket money. You shouldn’t be treated in a way that makes you stand out from other children.

Your rights - general

There isn’t a legal duty on parents or anyone else to give children and young people pocket money.

If you are in care, your council will arrange for you to get weekly pocket money. You might live in a children’s home, a school or be in hospital right now. You may also be in a secure children’s home or a prison. Wherever you are, if you are in care you will get pocket money.

Councils agree pocket money rates for different age groups of children and young people in care. They usually publish these rates on their websites. You can ask your social worker for information.

The law doesn’t allow children’s homes to fine you (take away all of your pocket money). However, you can be made to give some of your pocket money to make up for any damage you have caused. This must be a reasonable amount though.

If you don’t think you are getting enough pocket money, you could get in touch with your Children in Care Council to see if others feel the same as you. You could ask to meet your Director of Children’s Services to make the case for extra pocket money.

If you are not in care and live in a residential school or a boarding school, there must be a system for recording pocket money. Your parents or carers will send your pocket money to the school. Each school will have its own pocket money rules. As with any rules, you have the right to ask questions and to give your own views. If you and other students want rules about pocket money (or anything else) to change, speak to a trusted teacher or your school council.

If you are in a young offender institution or a secure training centre, you will have your own account into which money will be paid each week according to the level you are on. Basic is the lowest, then standard, and the highest level is enhanced. The prison must have a fair system for working out which level you are on. If you have difficulties with your behaviour, you should get help with this. If you are trying hard to behave well, this should be recognised and rewarded.

Your family and social worker can also put money into your account, though you will still only be able to spend a set amount every week. Your prison must have a catalogue system where you can order things that are usual for people your age. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights around money in prison, there are special prison advocates who should be able to help. Or you could contact the legal team at The Howard League for Penal Reform, which is a charity separate from government which helps child prisoners. See the ‘People and places’ part of our website for more details.

Which of these statements is true?