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Northern Ireland parents skipping meals to feed children

By Lisa Smyth

Published 05/09/2012

Some of the poorest children in Northern Ireland go without new shoes and a warm winter coat while their parents skip meals so their children can eat, shock new research has found.

A study by Save the Children has highlighted the bleak reality for thousands of families across Northern Ireland who are struggling to make ends meet.

The research has revealed that financial pressures are putting families under enormous strain, with over 32% of low income families short of money every week.

Almost 40% have not paid bills in the last 12 months because of a lack of money and 31% said they cannot cut back any further to try and make their money last longer.

Despite parents wanting to hide their money worries from their children, they are not able to do so as their children are forced to miss out on basic childhood activities, such as birthday celebrations and playing with friends.

Almost 30% said they could not afford to invite their children’s friends for dinner and 19% are going without new shoes when they grow out of the old ones.

One parent said: “My daughter gets enough — I don’t. Instead of making myself a meal I might just have toast.”

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