Manchester

Manchester father in child poverty plea to chancellor

A father from Manchester has travelled to Downing Street to urge the chancellor to help children living in extreme poverty.

Unemployed single parent Saeed Jan said that, after paying the bills, he was left with about £5 a week for himself and his daughter Hannah.

He joined other parents asking George Osborne to include plans to help struggling families in the budget.

The UK government has pledged to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

Food shopping

Seven-year-old Hannah sleeps in a cot in the corner of her father's bedroom and keeps her clothes on a rail in the doorway to the lounge.

Their flat in Rusholme is small and money is tight.

Hannah would like her own room and to go on days out but her father Saeed, 39, said he simply could not afford it.

"We live on £150 a week and after I've paid the bills and done the food shopping, I usually have around £5 left," he said.

"This means I can't buy my daughter any clothes or books."

Mr Jan, who's unemployed, said he used to take Hannah swimming before funding for free swimming was cut for under 16s during term time.

I know it's not a lot of money but still, a couple of pounds every week soon builds up, and I can't afford that," said Mr Jan.

"You're always thinking - should I put food on the table or should I actually go out and take her swimming or go to the pictures?"

Poorest areas

On Monday Mr Jan joined other parents from Wales and London to hand in letters to 11 Downing St outlining what it is like to live in poverty.

They want the chancellor to support Save the Children's emergency plan, which includes more jobs channelled into the poorest areas and help with childcare for low income parents.

The charity's chief executive Justin Forsyth said: "Parents living in poverty are telling us that they are struggling just to put a decent meal on the table and that they cannot cut back any more."

Using a government definition of child poverty, it is believed that 2.8 million children in the UK are living in poverty.

Save the Children said Manchester had the highest level in the country, with 27% of children living in hardship.

According to research, children who grow up in poverty face a greater risk of having poor health, being exposed to crime and failing to reach their full potential.

The goal to end child poverty by 2020 was set out in the Child Poverty Act (2010).

The government's UK-wide child poverty strategy is due to be published by the end of the month.

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