Video: Toughest time for kids in '20 years'

Last updated at 13:02
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Newsround talks to the Children's Commissioner for England, Maggie Atkinson

Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, has told Newsround that because of the economic trouble the country is going through, some kids are having to cope without three meals a day or a warm bed to sleep in at night.

She said: "It's been 20 years since it's been this bad, could be longer."

"More and more children are living in families that are having a very hard time."

She also said the government was making too many cuts too fast - and that the people in charge were not listening enough to the effects the current economic problems were having on kids.

The UK economy has been in bad shape in recent years.

The country's been through two recessions - times when the country's actually getting poorer - and money is tight for many.

The government has been reducing the amount of money it spends on certain things, including services that affect children.

See Newsround's brief guide to the cuts.

Atkinson said: "My advice to ministers has been all along please don't cut this hard and this fast. The consequences for children are too serious, will you please think again."

The government believes that making cuts to services now is the best way of getting the economy back on its feet. The Treasury has told Newsround that they 'understand the financial pressures households are under' and 'have taken action to help families who work hard and want to get on in life,' including measures to take 'over two million people out of income tax altogether.'

The Children's Commissioner of England - who is appointed to promote the views and interests of Children in England - was talking in response to the Newsround Special "Hard Times", which looks at the affect recession, and current economic problems, have had on kids.

She also told Ricky that not looking out for children now could lead to further problems in the future.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, who makes policy on the country's money, says there is no 'miracle cure' for the country's problems, and that he wants to tackle them 'head on'.

He told the BBC yesterday that he wants to do the right thing by people in the country, and that the government wants to try and help those in need - one example being helping with the cost of childcare.

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Watch a clip from Newsround Special Hard Times