New research from the Children's Society shows that hundreds of thousands of children in the North West are growing up in families struggling with debt.
The report indicates that more than 387,000 children in the region are living in 224,000 families trapped in problem debt, falling behind with credit payments or household bills.
The charity says that this means that a quarter of families with children in the region have been failing to keep up with household bills and loan repayments in the past year.
And they say this can result in children going without basics such as food, clothing or heating, as well as suffering worry, anxiety and bullying.
The Children's Society is publishing a draft of a parliamentary Bill to introduce a 12-month 'breathing space' scheme to give families struggling with debt a period of protection from additional charges, mounting interest and enforcement action while they seek advice, put their finances in order, and get back on their feet.