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Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
'I can't afford what I need'
Danielle Fox plays with her son Callum
Callum's toys come from charity shops
Nearly one in five children are still living in poverty in the UK, according to official figures. BBC News talks to two families struggling to make ends meet.

Callum Fox is nearly three years old.

But his presents this year, like all his toys, will come second-hand from charity shops.

He lives with his mother Daniella in bed and breakfast accommodation on income support of 85 a week.

That is well below the official poverty line of about 250 a week.

Daniella Fox
Daniella Fox: "Can't afford to buy things he needs"
"I'm living on the standard breadline, as they would say," said Daniella.

Officially, households are poor when their income is less than 50% of the average household income, which currently stands at 510 a week.

The latest figures, from the Office of National Statistics, say 3.9m children - almost 20% - live in households like Callum's, bringing in less than 250 a week.

"I can't afford to be able to buy the things I would want to buy for him, or even things he would need - learning, educational toys, things like that," said Daniella.

"They're hard to come across if you're looking in charity shops because you can't afford to buy them new."

'No sweets'

Mother-of-two Tracey Clifford, from Sneinton in Nottingham, said she and her partner bring home about 250 a week.

They have 50 a month left over when bills have been paid and food bought.

She said their family luxury was satellite television - but added that children got picked on at school if they did not have it.

It's very rare that we go out to the pub because we can't afford it, any money we have goes on the children

Tracey Clifford
"My partner smokes roll-ups, which is a lot cheaper, now because he couldn't afford to smoke.

"It's very rare that we go out to the pub because we can't afford it, any money we have goes on the children - nappies, clothing and things like that."

She said the children had odd treats, like going swimming once a week and to McDonald's once a month, but did not have many sweets or get "spoilt".

She said she would not have noticed whether or not the government had reached its targets of lifting children out of poverty.

"We've learned to stand on our own two feet, I suppose, and not had any help."

However, she did recall a time when her partner was out of work and she worked 10 hours a week - thus losing 70 from his benefits.

The BBC's Kim Catcheside
"Anti-poverty campaigners are rather worried"
See also:

11 Apr 02 | UK Politics
Labour defends child poverty record
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