1m kids risk be­ing with­out food, clothes, warns re­port

‘Fam­i­lies are liv­ing in prac­ti­cally Dick­en­sian lev­els of poverty and face a des­per­ate Christ­mas’

The Gulf Today - - WORLD -

LON­DON: One mil­lion of the youngest chil­dren could be de­prived of ba­sics — such as warm win­ter cloth­ing, fresh food or cel­e­bra­tions — this Christ­mas, a new re­port warns.

The UK risks “Dick­en­sian” lev­els of poverty as hun­dreds of thou­sands of chil­dren aged 10 or un­der face a des­per­ate Christ­mas, an anal­y­sis of Gov­ern­ment ig­ures By CHAR­ITY Ac­tion For CHIL­DREN inds.

And a new sur­vey from the char­ity, of 2,000 par­ents, re­veals that more fam­i­lies are feel­ing the squeeze over the fes­tive pe­riod.

(46 per cent) of par­ents say they have been cut­ting back on Christ­mas essen­tials in­clud­ing presents, Christ­mas din­ner and a tree, while a quar­ter of par­ents re­port get­ting into debt to cover the cost of Christ­mas.

The char­ity, which has seen a 30 per Cent rise In FAM­I­LIES SEEK­ING inan­cial ad­vice from its ser­vices over the last three years, plans to run unof­fi­cial Food­banks over the fes­tive pe­riod to help fam­i­lies.

Paul and Donna Maund, who have four chil­dren un­der 10, are hav­ing to cut back on Christ­mas this year af­ter they have found pay­ing the monthly bills an in­creas­ing strug­gle.

De­spite Maund work­ing full-time at a sand­wich bar in Nor­wich, the fam­ily has to rely on Ben­e­fits to pay For THE weekly food shop­ping and nap­pies for their one-year-old, as well as for their rent.

“It won’t be long be­fore we’ll have to start us­ing food­banks as I’ve no­ticed prices go­ing up and up,” Maund said.

SHE ADDED: “By in­d­ing THE BAR­GAINS at dis­count su­per­mar­kets I’ve worked hard to get my weekly food bill for the whole fam­ily down to £45 but the only way we can af­ford Christ­mas din­ner and all the treats for the kids this year is by go­ing to my par­ents.

“I’VE BEEN try­ing to save AND ind one present a week over the past few months, but it’s been hard.”

Julie Bent­ley, chief ex­ec­u­tive for Ac­tion for Chil­dren, said: “Our youngest chil­dren should be wak­ing up in a warm bed af­ter a visit from Santa on Christ­mas morn­ing, but the shock­ing truth is that in 2018 many will be cold AND Hun­gry In THE ifth RICH­EST Coun­try of the world.

“No par­ent should be forced to face the ap­palling choice be­tween ‘eat­ing or heat­ing’ at Christ­mas but this is the re­al­ity for far too many in the UK to­day.”

Bent­ley added: “While the gov­ern­ment tells us aus­ter­ity is at an end, Ev­ery DAY we SEE irst-hand THE Im­pos­si­ble choices that fam­i­lies liv­ing in prac­ti­cally Dick­en­sian lev­els of poverty have to make.”

Reuters

A staff mem­ber poses for a pho­to­graph next to the Mu­seum of Ar­chi­tec­ture’s Gin­ger­bread City at the V&A Mu­seum, in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day.

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