Quarter of North East families can’t afford food, says Sunderland MP

Sharon Hodgson MP
Sharon Hodgson MP
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A WEARSIDE MP has slammed Prime Minister David Cameron after it was revealed that more than a quarter of North East families miss meals because they can’t afford food.

Sharon Hodgson made the comment after a Save the Children report claimed that 28 per cent of families in the region do not have enough money to eat at every meal time.

The findings, laid down in the report, A Fair Start for Every Child, also says that more than two thirds of households have had to borrow money from banks, or payday lenders to cover the cost of food and bills.

Mrs Hodgson, who represents Washington and Sunderland West, said: “This important report lays bare the impact on North East children and families of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis.

“Child poverty is everybody’s problem.

“With previous reports estimating a cost to the country of at least £29billion a year, tackling the causes and symptoms of poverty is there in everyone’s interest.

“Labour made great progress on this in Government and have already set out several ways in which we can reduce child poverty – including making work pay for parents, by strengthening wages and extending free childcare, scrapping the bedroom tax and tackling the cost of living, particularly rents and energy bills.

“We can, and should, go even further to reverse the rising tide of poverty under this Government.”

The report also claims that the number of children trapped in child poverty will rise by more than 40 per cent from 3.5 million to five million by 2020, because of escalating food prices and a continued squeeze on incomes.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said: “Millions of children in the UK are being sentenced to a lifetime of poverty. Far too many are living in cold and damp homes without healthy food.

“If we ignore the rising toll of poverty we are blighting the future of a further 1.4 million children. In one of the world’s richest countries, there is simply no excuse.”

A Government spokesman said: “We are committed to ending child poverty by tackling its root causes as part of our long-term economic plan.”