A Wilde approach to pocket money…

Pop star Kim Wilde grew up in a mansion with a wealthy rock singer for a father and surrounded by all that money can buy. But she got only 21/2p a week pocket money.

If she wanted more, she had to work for it. But now the pocket money scene has all changed. Britain’s children were worth an estimated £550m last year. And while Kim, 25, remembers blowing hers on simple temptations like sweets, kids today are bombared with commercial pressures to spend, spend, spend their allowances on everything from BMX bikes to dancing slippers.


That’s why Channel 4 has started a financial series just for them – The Pocket Money Programme – a junior version of the Money Programme, which advises children on their spending-power.

Each week, a different guest will discuss with the series’ presenters – all aged 12 and 13 – aspects of junior consumerism. On the first programme tomorrow night, Kim Wilde will also talk about fanclub rip-offs. Later in the series, the designers behind Body Map examine the best fashion buys.

Producer Nick Barton says he saw that children were assaulted with so much advertising they could become confused about how best to use their money.

‘Children today are under enormous commercial pressure’, he says. ‘And it doesn’t come just from manufacturers and consumers. Banks have got into it, too – and we’ve found that some kids have four or five bank accounts, because every bank offers them free gifts to save with them. It’s important that they know their rights as consumers, and this programme aims to show them all the aspects.’

Kim Wilde says: ‘My parents made me realise early on how important it was to save money as well as spending it. If I wanted more I had to work for it. That has all stayed with me.’