William Eichler 06 December 2019

Charity warns of ‘Christmas childhood crisis’

Three children in every primary class face Christmas without warmth or fresh food, a children’s charity has warned.

An analysis of official figures by Action for Children has found that almost one million under-10s from low-income families face a festive season lacking basics such as a heated home, warm winter coat or fresh food.

The charity also found that parents below the breadline are able to spend on average just £2 a day per child on food and struggle to afford nutritious food.

It is a lot harder for low-income families to provide a healthy meal during school holidays, Action for Children said. A typical primary school meal in the UK costs £2.30.

‘Politicians are telling us austerity has ended but every day at Action for Children our frontline services say child poverty levels are at the worst they can remember,’ said Action for Children’s chief executive, Julie Bentley.

‘While some families will spend the Christmas holidays putting their children to bed early to keep warm because they can’t afford to heat the house, for others it has become the norm to not have a winter coat, rely on foodbanks, or for their children to miss out on hot meals.

‘The next Government must deliver ambitious policies to end child poverty and bring in a National Childhood Strategy to give all our children a safe and happy childhood.’

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