07 April 2006

Report highlights child poverty


More than 110,000 children in Northern Ireland live below the government's poverty line, a report has claimed.

The most deprived children go without three meals a day or without the right kinds of food, the report said.

They live in households where their parents worry constantly about finances and how to pay the bills, it said.

The report - Child and Family Poverty in Northern Ireland - was based on research carried out for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

It said the food poverty experienced by NI children was partly a result of the low incomes of families on benefits and partly the result of high prices for basic foodstuffs and fuel.

Published by the Equality and Social Inclusion in Ireland Project and Save the Children, the report also said that 60,000 more children were "living in poverty" in the province.

It said this meant they were going without many things others took for granted, such as family day trips, holidays, leisure and social activities, new clothes and sports gear.

"It is regrettable that the suspension of the devolved government in 2003 so seriously interrupted the development of an anti-poverty strategy in and for Northern Ireland," the report's authors Eithne McLaughlin and Marina Monteith said.

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