Posted: Wed 16th Nov 2022

Almost half of primary school children in Wales worry about having enough to eat

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Nov 16th, 2022

Almost half of all primary school aged children in Wales say they worry about having enough to eat.

A survey carried out by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales asked 7873 children and young people their views on a range of issues.

It found that 45% of children aged 7-11, and 26% of young people 12-18 answering the national survey said they worry about having enough to eat.

Children’s concerns were echoed by parents: 36% of parents said that they worry about their children having enough food.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of children aged 7-11 worried about their families not having enough money for the things they need, as did a majority (52%) of children aged 12-18.

According to the commissioner, Rocio Cifuentes MBE, early findings from the survey are a ‘startling snapshot’ of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on children.

And the findings come just two days after the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education (CYPE) committee warned that the cost-of-living crisis is impacting school attendance.

Rocio Cifuentes

said: “Even before this crisis we had a huge number of children living in poverty in Wales. I’ve repeatedly called on the Welsh Government for a child poverty action plan, something I’ve reiterated in my latest annual report.”

 

The Children’s Commissioner said: “We desperately need to see a plan that is focused, clear, and has targets to reduce the number of children and young people facing hardship – a call supported by the Auditor General for Wales.”

“It’s really striking and shocking to see the level of worry amongst children and young people for some of the most basic everyday things, like having enough to eat and enough money for the things they need.”

“These are things that children should not be worrying about it all, and I’m deeply concerned about the potential long-term impact this could have on their wellbeing. These are very early findings from our national survey, which closed last week.”

It’s likely of course that when we look at the answers of particular vulnerable groups of children that the numbers will be even more worrying.

The Children’s Commissioner said: “It’s also really saddening to see the impact on parents. At least two-thirds (68%) are worried about having enough money for the things their children need, and those figures are pretty consistent across a wide range of finance-related questions in the survey.

“I’ve shared these early findings directly with the Welsh Government. There are big decisions to be made in Cardiff Bay and in Westminster on the cost-of-living crisis and what more can be done to help, and children need to be central to those decisions.”

She said: “The Welsh Government needs to do all it can to reduce costs for families and we need a plan to ensure resources are having the desired effect. A billion pounds was spent in the last financial year in Wales on alleviating poverty but without a clear plan it’s not possible to properly evaluate its effectiveness. Reducing poverty levels and giving people the things and the money they need has to be a priority for all UK governments.”

On Thursday (17 November) the Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education committee will scrutinise the Children’s Commissioner’s annual report, which urges to the Welsh Government to do more to tackle child poverty through a Child Poverty Action Plan.

The Annual Report also recommends that Welsh Government pilot free public transport for under 18s, which would alleviate a key cost facing children and young people, a call supported by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.

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