Waiting list for free breakfasts in schools increases four fold

Bosses at a charity that provides free breakfasts to schools in deprived areas have told the British media that they fear child poverty may be on the rise, after seeing a dramatic increase in the number of schools on their waiting lists.

Magic Breakfast, which was launched almost a decade ago, delivers breakfasts to schools where over half the pupils get free school meals and even won one of David Cameron’s “Big Society” awards in 2011 for providing the service to over 200 schools in the UK.

However, Carmel McConnell, founder of Magic Breakfast, told Channel Four news that in the last few months the number of schools on the charity’s waiting list has quadrupled from just 20 to 80, and she fears that this is an indication that more children are being brought up in deprived homes.

Other organisations which provide similar services have also reported an increase in demand over the last few years; FareShare, which represents breakfast clubs all over the country, reports that demand for the free service has doubled since 2008.

This news comes as the Institute for Fiscal Studies released its own findings, suggesting that the government was not going to be able to meet one of its election promises – to eradicate child poverty in the UK by the year 2020. Current statistics show that almost four million children are living in poverty at the start of 2012, in households which earn 60% less than the average income.

In fact, the IFS report doesn’t just suggest that the government is failing to do anything to help children currently living in poverty but that the problem is actually going to get worse. Best-case scenario estimates predict that the number of children living in deprived households is set to increase by half a million by 2016. 

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