ULSTER’S poorest children see their parents going without food so they don’t go hungry – and even say they go without basics such as new shoes and a warm winter coat because their parents can’t afford them.
A bleak picture of poverty in 2012 is painted across the UK after the latest survey from Save the Children, entitled “Child Poverty in 2012, It Shouldn’t Happen Here”.
The results show that over a quarter of local parents (29 per cent) living on low incomes say that they are skipping meals so that their children can eat.
The survey also revealed that financial pressures are putting families under enormous strain, with one third of parents short of money every week and 39 per cent having not paid bills in the last 12 months.
And, according to the charity, despite parents trying to hide their money worries from their children they are not able to do so as their budgeting forces children to miss out on basic childhood activities, like having a friend round to tea (29 per cent of parents cannot afford this), and going without new shoes when they grow out of the old ones (19 per cent of parents were unable to afford this).
Fergus Cooper, Save the Children’s head of country NI, said: “Parents are making every effort to get by and protect their children from money worries but you cannot hide a lack of food on the table, not being able to replace worn out shoes or purchase a proper winter coat.”
Mr Cooper said children living in poverty are “twice as likely to suffer from asthmatic and respiratory conditions”.
He added: “They do less well in school, obtaining fewer qualifications and are more likely to end up in low-paid jobs themselves. It shouldn’t happen here but it does!”
Mr Cooper said that in spite of the economic crisis, there are things that the Government can do to help lift families out of poverty, such as “ensuring jobs pay a living wage, improving early years services and protecting children in poverty from further cuts”.