Saturday 18 November 2017 11:32:05 PM

Child Poverty in Northern Ireland is Here Says Save the Children Chief
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Dear Editor,

Re: Child Poverty Across Northern Ireland 

“Child poverty, here in Northern Ireland and across the UK, is now a major news story with the publication of new research from Save the Children.  The findings released this week in our report Child Poverty in 2012, It shouldn’t happen here reveal a bleak picture.   In Northern Ireland, our poorest children see their parents going without food so they don’t go hungry and say they do without basics such as new shoes, healthy meals and a warm winter coat because their parents can’t afford them.

“These stark findings are the result of a large scale survey of thousands of parents and children UK-wide.  Over a quarter of local parents living on low incomes say they skip meals so their children can eat.  40% buy less fruit and vegetables as they struggle to budget to feed their families.

“As recession and austerity bites deeper, the poorest families are feeling it most. Over 32% of the parents are short of money every week and 39% have not paid bills in the last 12 months. Despite parents trying to hide their money worries from their children they are not able to do so as children are forced to miss out on basic childhood activities like having a friend round to tea and birthday celebrations.

“Here, one in two children in poverty is growing up in a household where at least one adult is working. For parents on low incomes there is limited scope to cut back. They are making every effort to get by and protect their children from money worries,  but there is no hiding a lack of food on the table or not being able to replace outgrown shoes.  Despite parents trying desperately to give them a decent start in life, these children are twice as likely to suffer from respiratory conditions and are also more likely to do less well in school, obtain fewer qualifications and end up in low paid jobs themselves.

“The situation is so severe that Save the Children, for the first time in its history, has launched an appeal to raise £500,000 for our poverty work in the UK.  I appeal to your readers to support our appeal if they can. They can learn more about our research and programme work at: www.savethechildren.org.uk

“Child poverty – it shouldn’t happen here, but it does”.

Fergus Cooper

Save the Children

Head of Country NI