“Dickensian” levels of poverty children and their families are having to endure

A survey of 1,026 members of the National Education Union (NEU) revealed some shocking information about the level of poverty in UK schools.

53% of respondents believe there are children or young people in their school who will go hungry over Christmas

74% of respondents who said this was an issue believe that up to 20% of children or young people in their school will experience holiday hunger over Christmas.

16% believe that between 20% and 30% of their children will experience hunger over this period.

46% say that holiday hunger has got worse compared to three years ago and only 2% said it had got better.

63% of respondents say that more families are unable to afford adequate shoes or clothing this winter compared to three years ago.

46% of teachers believe that, compared with three years ago, there are more housing issues (poor quality, insecure, overcrowded or temporary accommodation) impacting upon the education of children and young people.

Commenting on the poll, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said: “This is a Dickensian picture of the poverty that far too many children and their families are having to endure. The government is out of touch with the distressing new reality of children’s daily lives: with what it means to live without enough money for basics, such as food, shoes and adequate clothing.

“The government has failed to recognise the human cost of its cuts to schools and other children’s services and to the social security system, and its failure to address the in-work poverty faced by 1 in 5 workers.

“The UN Envoy Philip Alston concluded in his recent report that the Government is in a state of denial about the levels of poverty in the UK.  The government must stop hiding from the facts. Children can’t escape the poverty trap without an urgent change to national policies.”

Homeless people have hotel bookings cancelled for Christmas

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