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Cost of Living Crisis 2023

Impact on Children Report 2023   

  • Survey findings show that parents and their children have had to cut back on or go without essentials over the past 6 months due to cost of living increases    
  • 37% of parents say they have had to go without or cut down on  heating, 23% on electricity and 20% on food    
  • 28% of parents said they had cut back on or gone without medical care, medicines, therapy or health assessments over the past 6 months due to cost of living increases    

Embargoed to May 24th Barnardos children’s charity today launcheda new report outlining the growing impact that the cost of living crisis is having on children across the country. Over 73% of parents surveyed said that cost of living increases have negatively affected the children in their care over the past 6 months, with almost two in ten (17%) saying they have been significantly affected.   

‘He has no lunch going to school, he can’t afford to go places with his friends, he is sitting in a cold room trying to do his homework.’  Parent  

The report outlines findings of a survey conducted by Amarach Research of a nationally representative sample of 315 parents, as well as insights from 30 one to one interviews with parents currently supported through Barnardos services. The survey findings show the realities some families are facing:   

  • 37% of parents say they have had to go without or cut down on heating, 23% on electricity and 20% on food    
  • 28% of parents said that they had cut back on or gone without medical care, medicines, therapy or health assessments over the past 6 months  
  • 43% of parents said that they had cut back on, or their children had gone without new clothes    
  • Almost two thirds of parents (57%) said that they had cut back on their children’s social activities/entertainment, or they had gone without  

‘My daughter has 3 outfits and one pair of shoes that fits her, can’t afford to get her more. That’s not right.’ Parent   

Seven in ten (70%) parents said they sometimes or always worried about not being able to provide their children with daily essentials such as food, heat or electricity. Only one in ten (11%) said they never worry.   

Parents stated that they are fearful of bills, feel guilty about having to almost constantly say no to their children and their mental health is worsening because of extra cost of living pressures. 

It’s very stressful. Children don’t know the price of living, they shouldn’t know we are not surviving at the minute. If prices get higher, I don’t know how we will survive.’ Parent    

Barnardos Recommendations   

We are calling on the Government to take action in 4 key areas:  

  1. Income Supports: Reduce waiting times for parents seeking Additional Needs Payments where children are at risk of going without essentials. Benchmark social welfare payments in line with minimum essential standard of living measurements and raise the Qualified Child Increase in line with inflation.     
  2. Food: Further expand the hot school meals programme to secondary schools and more non-DEIS schools. Pilot an expansion of school meals during holiday time. Publish an Action Plan on Food Poverty setting out specific targets for reducing the number of children and families experiencing food poverty.   
  3. Heating and Electricity: Working with energy providers, the Government should ensure that families on low incomes using pre-paid meters with children living in the house are automatically placed on providers’ lowest tariffs. Provide an additional once off targeted lump sum to families most at risk of going without heating this coming winter to cover the continued exceptionally high price of heating.    
  4. Social Activities: The Child Poverty and Wellbeing Unit should introduce measures to guarantee children living in low-income families can engage equitably in after school sporting and cultural activities. In the immediate term, this should include free public transport for children during holiday periods.   

Suzanne Connolly Barnardos CEO said, ‘It is unacceptable that children are going without the absolute minimal necessities and are being pulled into deprivation as a result of the cost-of-living increases. All children across Ireland are entitled to a standard of living that supports their emotional, social and physical development. Although some measures introduced over the past year have helped, it is clear from parents interviewed that they don’t feel the measures have gone far enough. It is vital that the Government introduces proactive, targeted policies, to ensure that all children in Ireland, at an absolute minimum, live in homes that have sufficient food, live in appropriately heated accommodation and don’t go without electricity. Because childhood lasts a lifetime.’   

‘I will only heat one part of the house, my child’s bedroom and only then until my son falls asleep and then turn it off again. At around seven we go to bed to keep the lights off. I use my mobile phone to light the house when my son is asleep.’ Parent    

Yearly comparison  

Over the past 6 months, have and or your children/children had to go without or cut down on any of the following due to cost of living increases?   April 2023   April 2022   
Heat   37%   28%   
Electricity   23%   23%   
Food   20%   16%   
Clothing   43%   34%   
Medical appointments/medicines/dentist/assessments   28%   17%   
Social activities   57%   50%   
Participating in local sports groups/clubs   20%   n/a   
School supplies    12%   8%   
School trips/activities   23%   n/a   
Transport   14%   10%   
Rent   5%   2%   
None of the above   26%   37%   



Notes to Editor:      


Cost of Living Crisis – Impact on Children 2023 – Summary   

Cost of Living Crisis – Impact on Children 2023 – Full Report   

For information on Barnardos services, please contact:   

Barnardos Press Office: [email protected] / 086 0445966   

Spokespeople and Parents available- 086 0445966   




About Barnardos

Barnardos’ mission is to deliver services and work with families, communities, and our partners to transform the lives of vulnerable children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences. Because childhood lasts a lifetime  

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