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'Life tougher' for British families

Politicians need to do more to help children and parents, a charity has said as a survey found almost half of Britons said family life had become harder over the last 30 years.

Some 49% of people in a poll commissioned by the charity 4Children said political parties should do more to help and 46% said family life was harder than three decades ago, a figure rising to 51% among over-60s.

The YouGov poll found 49% feared the future for children and young people will be worse than their own, with just 18% saying it would be better and 22% believing it would be about the same.

Anne Longfield, 4Children's chief executive, said: "All the main political parties know that the family vote will be key at the ballot box next year. With half of people calling for more support for children and families, it is clear that the scale of ambition needs to radically change. Families are looking to all the parties to set out what they will do to make Britain great for children and families.

"It is time for a real shift of ambition to give children and families the support they need to flourish. Families are our country's most valuable asset and political parties need to invest in them.

"We need to redesign public services to meet the needs of modern family life. During a changeable time in politics and with a crucial general election just months away, families are clear that the time for politicians to act is now."

In its manifesto for the next parliament 4Children calls for the next government to force schools to open up their doors from 8am to 6pm for breakfast clubs and after-school care.

It also calls for free childcare to be extended to 25 hours a week for all children aged between one and four during the next decade.

The charity has also called for Sure Start centres to be turned into "children and family community hubs" offering services from early intervention to social care.

:: YouGov questioned 2,099 adults online between September 8 and September 9. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults.

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