There is a very stark and cruel truth within Britain, exacerbated by its brutal simplicity. Our children are starving.
Further to this horrid fact is that those children are being sent to emergency departments and hospital wards as the malnourishment becomes life threatening, only made worse by the necessary lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
So many families in receipt of financial aid were relying on the meals provided by schools to help what little money they had stretch into other essential supplies.
However, with children having to stay home, poverty tightened its grip and more than 2,500 children have been admitted to hospitals due to malnourishment this year.
There are over four million children living in poverty in this country, a country where a child becomes homeless every eight minutes
This is double the number compared to last year and brings the number of children admitted in this way to just over 11,500 since 2015. Almost all of those are under the age of 16.
Sadly, this is merely symptomatic of the overarching issue of child poverty: a devastating crisis which the British government has failed to reduce in the past decade, despite two child poverty strategies and a promise to reach the targets they were set.
There are over four million children living in poverty in this country, a country where a child becomes homeless every eight minutes, with 135,000 children waking up on Christmas morning last year without a permanent home.
When food is provided to these children, (from a charity or local food bank), often it fails to address basic dietary needs and has led to a rise in diseases such as rickets, gout and other such illnesses linked to malnutrition and poor diet.
With many people being furloughed or made redundant, those who would donate now find themselves in need
Food banks have now become an essential emergency service with statistics showing The Trussell Trust food banks were used 1,600,000 times between 2018 and 2019.
As COVID-19 has irrevocably altered the British social landscape, food banks have become even more vital, but they are now without staff or people able to donate.
With many people being furloughed or made redundant, those who would donate now find themselves in need and so, supermarket chains such as Asda were asked to help.
What is genuinely concerning is the horrendous difficulties people faced before the need for a lockdown. The findings of The Trussell Trust showed that 94% were ‘facing real destitution’, unable even to buy the basics needed to stay dry, warm and meet basic nutritional needs.
It would go on to show that many had issues with benefit mistakes, with the introduction of universal credit or zero hours contracts not providing the hours needed to support them or their children.
We have seen the worst-case scenario become a daily reality
Almost 75% reported a long-term health issue within the household, half of those being mental health illnesses. Many of these problems were unable to be addressed due to a lack of funding within the relevant areas of the NHS services, which only became further stretched in the wake of COVID-19
This unstable house of cards was not prepared for the arrival of a global pandemic and as such we have seen the worst-case scenario become a daily reality.
Children in a first world country are starving to death, with the NHS only able to delay rather than prevent this outcome.
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