Almost 4 million children across the UK are now living below the breadline, with many families having to choose between paying bills and eating, according to a report published today.
The report, by charity Buttle UK, says that more children are living in poverty now than at any other time in the past 10 years.
Gerri McAndrew, Buttle UK chief executive, said: “While this is not a state of emergency, it is beginning to look like one. Urgent action needs to be taken.”
In its annual report, Buttle UK highlights the fact that 3.9 million children in the UK are now living below the breadline.
Two-thirds of these disadvantaged families have at least one parent in work, raising questions about low pay, zero-hour contracts and benefits cuts, the charity said.
Almost half – 44 per cent – of families in crisis lack essential items such as beds, washing machines and children’s clothing. And there has been a 60 per cent rise in families evicted from private rented accommodation over the past five years.
Ms McAndrew said: “Our report clearly shows that families with limited incomes are under increasing pressure and are being forced to make impossible choices for their children – between healthy meals, warm clothes and heating their homes.”
Many families said that the situation worsens during the summer months. The report states: “Families who receive school support, such as free meals, have to adapt to having children at home for several weeks. This can affect work and shift patterns and result in the added expenditure of days out and activities.”