Britain's poorest parents regularly miss meals so they can afford to feed their children, according to a shocking report by the charity Save the Children.
More than half the parents in poverty surveyed (61 per cent) said they had cut back on what they ate and more than a quarter had skipped meals in the past year.
Just under a fifth said their children sometimes had to go without new shoes when they needed them.
And 19 per cent of children in poverty said they had missed out on school trips and 14 per cent said they did not have a warm coat to wear in the winter.
The charity defines living in poverty as having a family income of less than £17,000 a year.
The report is significant because for the first time in its history Save The Children is launching a fundraising campaign to help poverty-stricken children in Britain.
Rather than starving toddlers in Africa's drought zone or children in the slums of India, the charity needs money to feed and clothe youngsters in the seventh richest country in the world.
The charity says the UK's poorest children are bearing the brunt of the recession, with some missing out on regular hot meals or new shoes.
The campaign urges the Government to focus on benefits for low-paid families and ask employers to pay a living wage.
The charity surveyed more than 1,500 children aged eight to 16 and more than 5,000 parents, focusing on the lowest income groups.
The study draws on Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures which estimate that there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK and predict a steep rise in the numbers in coming years.
The report, It Shouldn't Happen Here, also reveals the extent to which children are aware of how much financial strain their parents are under with more than half saying they thought it was getting harder for their parents to pay for everything.
Fifty two per cent of the poorest children agreed that not having enough money made their parents unhappy or stressed and 43 per cent 'strongly agreed' that their parents were cutting back on things for themselves such as clothes or food.
Parents on the lowest incomes agreed they were more likely to snap at their children because of money worries compared with better off parents.
Save the Children is aiming to raise £500,000 from the charity appeal to help boost low income children's school careers and provide basic essentials such as cookers, furniture or toys for their families.
How appalling is this?
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