Almost a million pupils from low income families facing Christmas misery in UK

Three pupils in every primary school class will go without a heated home, warm winter coat or fresh food at Christmas.

A damning analysis of official figures by the charity Action for Children show almost one million kids from low-income families are facing festive misery.

Parents below the breadline will struggle to spend just £2 per day per child on food – despite the average school lunch costing £2.30 a day.

The Daily Mirror is raising funds for the charity through our Give Kids a Cracking Christmas campaign to tackle issues such as this.

Leanne, 34, from Glasgow, says despite working, she and her partner find it hard to feed their four children.

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She explains: “My partner was in full-time work and I was part-time, I was so optimistic and I just thought ‘we are going to be so happy now’.

“But then the bills and taxes came in. Despite us both having an income, we had less than ever. I remember saying we can’t afford to work.”

She adds: “I would sit all day and cry. I couldn’t do what was right for my kids. They were living off chips and plain pasta to fill them up. They weren’t getting the fruit and veg they needed. But what else could we do?

“There were times I’d make the kids food and just watch them. If I ate, I didn’t know if I would be able to get more food for dinner the next day.

“Thankfully my mum does the Christmas dinner , if she didn’t we wouldn’t be having one.”

After visiting her local Action for Children Centre, Leanne has since been given access to a foodbank.

Demand for the service is so high the charity even plans unofficial foodbanks over the festive season.

Action for Children’s CEO, Julie Bentley, said: “No parent should face the prospect of their youngster sitting in the cold without food at the end of a school day, or skip dinner themselves so their child has a meal.

“Our frontline services say child poverty levels are the worst they remember. Some families will spend the holidays putting children to bed early to keep warm. For others it’s the norm to not have a winter coat, rely on foodbanks, or for children to miss hot meals.”

She urged a National Childhood Strategy “to give all children a safe and happy childhood.”

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