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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 14:16 GMT
Children face 'severe poverty'
The report found many children were deprived of basic necessities
As many as 32,000 children in Northern Ireland are living in severe poverty, according to a charity.

This figure equates to 8% of all children living in the province, according to research being unveiled at a Save the Children seminar in Belfast on Monday.

The charity's Sheri Chamberlain said it was worrying that many children in Northern Ireland were being "deprived of things such as proper food, clothing and housing".

"Additionally, many of them miss out on the normal childhood activities like sport and even something as basic as having a friend round for tea," she said.

"It is essential that we take action on this and create policy initiatives to tackle severe child poverty and support children currently living in these unacceptable circumstances."

REPORT'S FINDINGS
70% of children living in severe poverty are most likely to live in a household where no-one works
50% live with a lone parent
27% have parents with health problems or disabilities, while 14% of the children are disabled themselves
24% live in large families with more than four children
More than a quarter of severely poor children live in households where the parents believe they live in poverty either often or most of the time
A report compiled by the charity and the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University is to be published later this year.

One of its researchers, Marina Monteith, said these children were missing out on the basic necessities of life.

"For example, one in five do not have fresh fruit and vegetables and one in seven do not have three meals a day," she said.

"These children do not have enough clothing or a warm, safe and healthy environment - 40% live in households where the gas, electricity or phone has been cut off.

"They also lack the things so many of us take for granted, such as school trips, holidays, going to the cinema and participating in sports and social activities.

"In addition, their families live with the constant anxiety of unaffordable debt."

Patricia Lewsley, SDLP, said avoidable child poverty would continue as long as there was no concerted, coordinated action to eradicate it.

"For many, having children has made them poor or keeps them poor because of the lack of support services from the early years on," she said.

"Breaking children out of this vicious circle will take resources, but, above all, it requires political will, preferably in the form of a dedicated children's minister."




SEE ALSO:
MPs study NI poverty
21 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
Third of children 'live in poverty'
13 Oct 03  |  Northern Ireland
NI poverty gap 'is growing'
02 Dec 02  |  Northern Ireland
NI poverty 'must be tackled'
18 Sep 02  |  Northern Ireland


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