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Shocking new poverty figures reveal that one child in six has gone to bed hungry

Shocking new poverty figures reveal that one child in six has gone to bed hungry

Research by Save the Children has revealed that children parents can no longer protect their children from the harsh realities of poverty.

As some parents routinely go without food to provide the basics for their children, the youngsters report they regularly worry about money.

The major new findings, titled It Shouldn’t Happen Here, are the result of two large surveys of both parents and children who live in low-income households.

The outcome paints a bleak picture of what it’s really like to live in poverty.

The results showed that nearly 25 per cent of parents in Scotland on low incomes are frequently skipping meals as they have nothing left to cut back on.

Despite rising food prices, more than 40 per cent of parents in Scotland on low incomes have less than £30 per week to spend on food for the entire family, compared to a national average of £76 per week.

One in seven of Scotland’s poorest children regularly don’t get enough to eat and parents surveyed revealed that one in six children from struggling families have gone to bed hungry.

Although parents are trying to hide money worries, children are all too aware of the financial pressure their families face.

More than half (53 per cent) of children on low incomes in the UK are worried about their families not having enough money and 51 per cent say money worries make their parents unhappy.

Around a quarter of Scots parents on low incomes say they are arguing more and more than 20 per cent are more likely to snap at their children because of stress about money.

Some of the children surveyed told heart-breaking stories. Duncan, 11, told researchers: "My mum makes sacrifices so that I can do the hobbies I want to do to keep me off the streets. She cuts back on buying herself new shoes and clothes."

Douglas Hamilton, Save the Children’s head of Scotland said: “Children should not be bearing the brunt of the recession. Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents buckling under the pressure of mounting bills and children seeing their parents argue more about money. It’s inexcusable that this is happening in Scotland in 2012”.

He added: "Given that nearly half of children living in poverty in Scotland have at least one parent in work; it is truly appalling that those parents can’t earn enough to give themselves and their kids a decent life.

“All working parents should be able to earn enough to meet the basic needs of their children.

“The Scottish Government must do more by supporting parents into work, make work pay, provide extra childcare support to help parents and protect the poorest and most disadvantaged from further cuts."

The charity is calling for the Scottish Government to maximise family incomes by removing barriers to work for the poorest parents and taking steps such as making childcare more affordable and making work pay. Save the Children also want to see struggling families protected from even further cuts.

Sara, a parent living in poverty in Edinburgh said: “Some of the hardest things to pay for are everyday stuff like washing up liquid and toilet roll and prices seem to be getting higher. I'm always trying to explain to my kids that I'm skint and I'm not being nasty to have to say no all the time, it's really hard”.

Sharon, a single parent living in Glasgow added: “When you're on a low income, every single penny comes into it, even small things that others take for granted. I try not to talk about money too much with my kids, but, obviously, they're very aware that I'm on my own and I struggle for money”.

The STV Appeal raises funds to help children, in Scotland, who live in poverty. The Appeal will work closely with six major Scottish charities, including Save the Children, Barnardo's, Action for Children, Children 1st and One Parent Families Scotland

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STV Appeal is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, number SC042429