The cost of living crisis is “pulling more and more children into deprivation”, a survey by Barnardos has found.
Over the past six months, 37% of parents said they had had to go without or reduce their use of heating and 20% said they had cut back on food.
57% said they had cut back spending on their children’s social activities and 43% said they bought less clothes because of their strained finances.
In addition, 28% said they had missed or cut back on medical appointments, medicines or therapy.
“It’s very stressful,” one parent told Barnardos.
“Children don’t know the price of living, they shouldn’t know we are not surviving at the minute. If prices get higher, I don’t know how we will survive.”
Barnardos National Policy Manager Stephen Moffat said it was a problem that has worsened in recent months.
“Unfortunately, what we’re finding is that more and more parents are finding themselves ‘always worried’,” he said.
“Nearly 20% of parents said they were ‘always worried’ about financially being able to provide for their children with essentials.
“So, [there are] real concerns about more children being pulled into deprivation.”
The charity has urged the Government to reduce waiting times for parents seeking Additional Needs Payments and boost the Increase for a Qualified Child benefit in line with inflation.
They have also suggested the Government expand the hot meal programme into secondary schools and work with energy providers to ensure vulnerable households are automatically paying for providers’ lowest tariffs.
Furthermore, they have asked the Child Poverty and Wellbeing Unit to explore how children from low-income backgrounds can access cultural and sporting activities.
The Department of Social Protection has been contacted for comment.
Main image: Piece of bread in a child's hands. Picture by: Alamy.com