childpovertyThe economy may be officially on the up, but for millions of families, the struggle to pay bills and heat their homes continues according to a report by The Children’s Society.

Behind Closed Doors: The Chilling Reality for Children in Poverty, reveals that the families of nearly two million children in need are missing out on crucial support in the form of the Warm Home Discount - a yearly £135 rebate. As a result, parents are forced to make a choice between cutting back on food so energy bills can be paid, which increases the risk of children getting respiratory and other health problems.

The Children’s Society is demanding that the government automatically offers the Warm Home Discount to affected families - currently, only the amount of time the programme runs for has been extended.

Further reading: UK child poverty survey reveals 'grinding reality' of unheated homes

Of the 10 constituencies with the most children in poverty not receiving this crucial support, eight are in London. These are followed by Birmingham Hodge Hill in the West Midlands and Manchester Central in the North West.

Anne Longfield, CEO of 4Children, added: “It is unacceptable that in 2014 some families are facing a daily choice between eating and heating. Children need to grow up in a warm home and be properly nourished to stay healthy. It is only when these basic needs are met that children will be able to flourish.

“Recent research by 4Children shows 22% of parents are concerned about paying their energy bills or are struggling to pay them. We need a new commitment to eradicate fuel poverty through a revitalised Green Deal aimed at the most vulnerable households.”