Cllr Lily Bath speaking at a previous Hounslow Council cabinet meeting
An increasing number of parents in the borough of Hounslow are struggling to send their kids with good uniforms and can’t afford school trips, a councillor has said. As the cost-of-living hits families, more and more local children are going to school hungry .
Councillor Lily Bath, cabinet member for children, learning and employment, has said that head teachers across Hounslow have been coming to the council with more and more stories of hardship. Some families are unable to feed their kids properly or send them on school trips, while other pupils are sent to school hungry.
She said, “It’s grim really, isn’t it? It’s really sad. We are one of the richest countries in the world, it’s depressing. There is a huge amount of pressure on families right now, we are hearing from schools more and more that families are really struggling. Poverty plays out in many different ways, kids are coming to school hungry or perhaps they just haven’t eaten properly.
“They’re coming to school without proper uniforms or equipment because that’s difficult for their families to pay for. Most of the schools, if not all of them, do have an option for parents to purchase cheap school uniforms, but even some parents are struggling to do that as well.
“There’s also less take-up of school trips because that’s an additional burden on parents. Families are not able to afford to send their kids on school trips, which are important enrichment activities for kids and young people in schools.”
Things are only set to get worst with average household income expected to fall by seven per cent over the next year and a half, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This comes despite Chancellor Jeremy Hunt rising benefits and pensions with inflation, plus an increase to the National Living Wage in April 2023.
Hounslow Council has recently announced plans to turn 27 acres into more than 500 allotments, orchards and community orchards, with food grown by schools linked to the sites destined to feed the most vulnerable children. But, families across the borough are struggling right now.
Cllr Bath added,“As local authorities, we can do whatever we can mitigate the impact, we can’t wave a magic wand and eradicate poverty but we can do whatever we can to support people.”
To help residents across the borough, Hounslow Council has been holding cost-of-living crisis roadshows in each town with experts to help families find the help they need this winter.
Megan Stanley - Local Democracy Reporter
November 22, 2022