One million under-10s from low-income families face a festive season with little to celebrate, Action for Children has warned
New research by the children’s charity revealed that three pupils in every primary school class will be without basics such as a heated home, a warm winter coat or fresh food this Christmas, due to families struggling following a decade of austerity and ongoing problems with universal credit
The charity said that parents below the breadline only able to spend £2 a day per child on food and, as there are no free school meals available during the holidays, many are struggling to afford their children’s lunch.
Action for Children’s chief executive, Julie Bentley, said: ‘No parent should have to face the awful prospect of their youngster sitting in the cold without a plate of food to eat at the end of a school day or skip dinner themselves so their child has a meal.
‘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.
‘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 not have a winter coat, rely on food banks, 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.
‘But until every family has enough money to keep their child warm and well-fed, we will continue to help them. That’s why we’re asking the public to get behind our Secret Santa campaign to help us support our most vulnerable children, not just at Christmas but every day.’
Action for Children said at least 50 of its services have provided foodbank support over the past year, and with demand so high, the charity is planning to host unofficial foodbanks again over the festive season.
Become a Secret Santa to support vulnerable children by texting CHILD to 70607 to donate £10 or by clicking here.
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