By Emma Elsworthy
The average British adult has SIX family members they have completely lost touch with – according to research.
Aunties, uncles and cousins are the relatives we are least likely to make the effort with, although one third of those polled said they hardly ever see a SIBLING.
Around 12 per cent said they don’t see their parents and one in 10 never meet the in-laws.
For six in 10 adults, the most common reason for the lack of contact is the fact they live so far away, and more than one quarter are unable to keep up with family due to them living in another country.
Despite this half of those polled wish they could spend more time with their family.
Almost two-thirds said they need their family in some way and one third rely on relatives for emotional support.
Oxfam commissioned the poll of 2,000 adults in conjunction with its campaign to change current Home Office rules which forbid child refugees who arrive in the UK alone from bringing a relative here.
Laws also restrict adult refugees in the UK to be reunited only with their spouse or children under the age of 18.
Fionna Smyth, head of humanitarian advocacy and campaigns for Oxfam said: “Busy lifestyles and not living within an easy distance can make it harder for families to get together.
“But Christmas is a time when we make a special effort to see our families, to connect with them. So it’s heartbreaking that refugees are having that choice taken away from them.”
The study also found seven per cent said they had not spent Christmas Day with relatives and two thirds said getting together with loved ones is the most important part of the celebration.
Brits admit they rarely even find time to see extended family members they are on good terms with – the average grandparent only spends three hours a month with their grown-up grandchildren.
And even close kin – such as siblings, grown-up children and parents – only get the benefit of the average adult’s company for eight hours a week.
One fifth like close contact with their family for a sense of stability, 24 per cent just want their company, and 23 per cent rely on them for life advice.
But 20 per cent of respondents admit they do take those closest to them for granted.
Sadly, seven in 10 adults did not realise that UK rules forbid child refugees who arrive in the UK alone from bringing a parent or other close relative here to look after them.
A similar proportion did not know that people who have fled the violence in another country to live in the UK are typically not allowed to bring a parent, sibling or a child over the age of 18 here to join them.
Fionna Smyth from Oxfam, which conducted the poll via OnePoll.com added: “It’s easy to take family for granted, and miss the odd family event, on the basis that we know we will be seeing them again.
“But imagine if your loved ones were trapped in a country where they were cheating death every single day. Refugees living in the UK would give anything to see their family members again and our outdated rules are forcing them apart.“