Our research, A crisis on our doorstep, exposes the severe impact of the cost-of-living crisis on children, young people and families across the UK.
No child should grow up in poverty, yet even before the cost-of-living crisis intensified over winter 2022-23 the situation was critical, with more than one in four children living in poverty.
A crisis on our doorstep takes a closer look at how the national situation is affecting children, families and young people using Barnardo’s services. What we found was deeply concerning. Too many children are going hungry, their health and wellbeing is being affected, families do not have access to essential items, and many are finding it hard to stay safe and warm.
Growing up in poverty means children miss out on opportunities and their physical and mental health suffers - all of which can affect them long into adulthood. We are working urgently to get extra help to the families we support but the current situation is unacceptable. We need all governments across the UK to take action.
Sarah, a mum supported by Barnardo's in Birmingham.
What does our latest evidence show?
New evidence in our report, A crisis on our doorstep, shows that:
- more than one in seven parents (16%) say their child or children have had to share a bed with them, their partner or a sibling, because they cannot afford another bed. 1 in 14 parents (7%) say this is happening right now
- almost one-third of parents (30%) worry about losing their home or being made homeless
- almost a quarter of parents (23%) have struggled to provide sufficient food for their child due to the cost of living, up 3% from October 2022 (20%)
- half of parents (49%) worry about their child or children missing out on experiencing a normal childhood due to cost of living cutbacks.
Barnardo’s practitioner, Newport, South Wales
What needs to happen?
We are calling on governments across the UK to:
- take more targeted action to reduce child poverty
- extend the provision of free school meals
- embed preventative approaches to reduce the impact of poverty on children’s health
- strengthen social security so the poorest families can afford to replace or repair essential household items
- prioritise innovative solutions to keep children safe and warm for longer such as extending family hubs to every community and implementing a total ban on forced prepayment meter installations
Helen (22), Northern Ireland, participant in focus group on preventing hunger.