Four million children — or three in 10 — across Britain are living in poverty, with the figure set to rise by a further million in the next ten years, a new report shows.
The shocking statistics were released on Thursday in a report by the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).
The report, based on a survey with 250 pediatricians across Britain, noted that poverty is having a “devastating” impact on the health of British children.
The document, citing doctors, warned that poor parents are diluting milk, skimping on food and raising their children in damp houses.
More than three in five doctors said food insecurity and people’s inability to buy enough food affecting the health of children.
“I see patients with poor nutritional state from poverty or low income, with growth below [what is] expected,” said one pediatrician while another added, “Parents dilute down milk as they can’t afford formula milk.”
“We see parents in A&E who are limiting their eating to care for their children. Children are worried, scared and upset,” one doctor noted.
Doctors stated that many parents deprive themselves of food, while some others cannot afford clothes, toothbrushes or toothpaste.
“Cold, damp, overcrowded housing exacerbate respiratory illness and other conditions,” one doctor said.
Doctors said poverty is also impacting children’s mental health, with “worry, stress and anxiety” taking a “little part of their childhood” away.
“A part of their day they will spend worrying instead of playing or learning,” they added.
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According to reports, between 4,000,000 and 13,000,000 people in the UK are living below the poverty line.
And, the UK government is planning to cut welfare benefits and implement tax reform, which is likely to push more children into “absolute poverty” over the next five years, according to a British think tank.
The proportion of children living in poverty is likely to rise to around 30 percent by 2022, a 3 percent rise from 2015, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) released in March.
The IFS projects that the number of children in poverty will rise by 900,000 to 5.1 million by 2022.