130,000 homeless children this Xmas


MORE than 130,000 homeless children will be living in temporary accommodation this Christmas in Britain, according to estimates by the homeless charity Shelter.

In the borough in which Parliament sits, Westminster, one in every eleven children is homeless. In Kensington and Chelsea, one of the richest boroughs in the country, one in every twelve has no permanent home.

Shelter said: ‘This figure lays bare the true scale of Britain’s worsening housing crisis, despite repeated government pledges to tackle the problem.’ The report also estimated that 9,500 children would spend Christmas Day in a hostel or other temporary accommodation, warning that the UK’s housing crisis is now being ‘felt across a generation’.

Meanwhile, food bank use around the UK is soaring, as more and more people are driven to the brink of starvation by this government’s austerity measures.

Baby Banks have now been set up where desperate parents are forced to come to feed and clothe their babies. More and more families are needing to use baby banks just to get by.

Research shows that, this year alone, more than 35,000 families have used baby banks to obtain vital items such as bottles, clothes, cots, nappies, wipes, prams and pushchairs. Comparable to food banks, baby banks give away basic baby items – largely donated by members of the public – that are crucial to people in need.

The steep rise in the use of baby banks is partly attributed to the introduction of the Tory government’s hated Universal Credit. Working parents can’t earn enough to cover rent, food and utilities on top of the necessities required to bring up a baby.

Former Labour welfare reform minister and Labour MP, Frank Field, said: ‘All too many families are being crippled financially by the cost of basic items for their babies.

‘It is hard-up families who are paying the price for the economic upheaval and austerity of the past decade.’

There are now more than 100 baby banks across the UK, including Little Village, which has three locations in London, in Camden, Southwark and Wandsworth; Stripey Stork that offers support in East Surrey; and Cascade Baby Bundles in Cheshire that helps families with children up to the age of 10.