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Families are cutting back on essentials like healthcare and school holiday outings as families struggle to meet cost of living expenses, according to new findings to be released by the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS).

The findings – from a survey of low to middle income families conducted by Essential Media Communications and Research Now – are detailed in NCOSS’ annual Cost of Living Report, which will be released later today.

NCOSS Deputy CEO, John Mikelsons, said more low to middle income families were now struggling.

“Families on low to middle incomes are doing it tougher than ever”, he said.

“Over the past ten years, basic household expenses like electricity have more than doubled, while rents in Sydney have gone up a whopping 60%.

“To meet these costs, many parents are forced to cut back or delay paying for other essentials like going to the dentist, getting a haircut or buying new clothes.

“And during these school holidays, many parents simply can’t afford to take their kids on a trip away or for a fun day out.”

Mr Mikelsons also said that the report showed a number of issues impacted uniquely on families living in rural and regional NSW.

“In many instances, regional families face more difficult cost of living pressures.

“For example, electricity bills are significantly higher in most parts of rural NSW.

“Our survey also revealed that regional families on low to middle incomes are more likely to report concern about meeting the costs of Internet”.