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Save The Children launches first campaign to help poor children in the UK

Britain's children are bearing the greatest burden of the recession, the charity has said. Photo: ITV News

Save the Children has launched its first ever campaign to tackle child poverty in the UK.

The charity said Britain's poorest youngsters were bearing the greatest burden of the recession - having their parents go hungry to feed them, missing regular hot meals, unable to afford warm coats and new shoes and suffering enormous emotional strain.

In a new report, It Shouldn't Happen Here, Save The Children, which works in 120 countries, highlights children's - as well as parents' - experiences living in recession-hit Britain.

One in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

It also highlights the extent to which poverty is blighting young lives.

One in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day, and one in 10 of the poorest parents have cut back on food for themselves to make sure their children have enough to eat, the report says.

Some 1,504 children aged eight to 16 in 35 schools across the UK completed an online survey in classroom settings.

More than 5,000 parents responded to a survey designed to provide an understanding of their financial experiences.

The survey found that children worry about their family not having enough money.

More than half of children living in poverty said the lack of cash made their parents unhappy or stressed.

Young children are being hit hardest by the recession, the charity has said Credit: ITV News

Almost a quarter of the poorest parents say they are arguing more or snap at their children because of their money troubles.

One in seven of the poorest children say they have to go without a warm winter coat and new shoes when they need them.

And nearly a fifth of children living in poverty say they miss out on school trips because their parents have not got the money.

Four fifths of parents (80%) said they were borrowing more money for essentials such as food and clothes.

The charity also found that an estimated 3.5 million children are living in poverty in the UK - 1.6 million in severe poverty.

This shocking figure is expected to rise by 400,000 by 2015.

A lack of jobs, stagnating wages, increased living costs and spending cuts are placing enormous pressure on families up and down the UK.

No child should see their parent going hungry or start the new term without a warm coat and with holes in their shoes.

Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents buckling under the pressure of mounting bills and children seeing their parents argue more about money.

That's why for the first time in our history we are launching a UK appeal. We need to help poor families survive the recession.

– Justin Forsyth, Save the Children's chief executive
Food banks like this one in Birmingham are dealing with the increase in poverty Credit: @KatyFawITV

Visit www.savethechildren.org.uk/ukpoverty for more information.

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