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Nearly half of children are expected to be living by forced sacrifices on essentials next month

NEARLY half of children are expected to be living in families forced to “make sacrifices on essentials” by the start of the new financial year, new research revealed today.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) estimated that 23.4 million people will be short of funds to meet the “acceptable standard of living” by an average of £8,600 per year.

This represents more than a third of the population, the think tank said, and means that 48 per cent of children will be part of households “unable to provide them a decent standard of living.”

The figure rises to 77 per cent for children in single-parent households, and 96 per cent for those in families out of work.

Labour said it was “shameful” that “so many children are now growing up in poverty and insecurity under the Tories.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Twelve years of Tory economic mismanagement have given us surging inflation, rocketing heating bills, punishing tax rises and two huge cuts to universal credit within six months.”

NEF economist Sam Tims said that “there is little time left for the Chancellor to take action to avert the worst real-terms incomes squeeze in 50 years.”

He said: “The cost of living is increasing faster than at any point in recent history. While all families are set to feel a squeeze come April, the lowest-income households will be hit proportionately harder.”

The Resolution Foundation has also published new research suggesting that the prolonged conflict in Ukraine could see a second inflation spike this autumn, reaching more than 10 per cent for the poorest households.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is heading towards his spring statement with “good news on the public finances but terrible news on the family finances,” the think tank said.

It suggested that Mr Sunak should “revisit the uprating of benefits this April.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “We know people are concerned about the cost of living, but we are already providing support worth over £20 billion this financial year and next, including targeted support for energy bills, cutting the universal credit taper rate to help those on low incomes keep more of what they earn and freezes to alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down.”

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