The following press release was issued in April 2007:
Children are denied basic household items -charity calls for Government initiative to tackle material deprivation
Government research into Child poverty in the UK shows that large proportions of the poorest households can not afford basic items such as electrical appliances and decent furniture. In total 4 million children are deprived of decent furniture and 3 million of working electrical appliances. This builds upon the UNICEF study earlier in the year showing British children to be the most deprived in the western world.
Among the poorest 20% of families 53% could not afford to replace worn out furniture and 42% could not afford to replace or repair broken electrical items. Paul Smith, Chief Executive of the Furniture Re-use Network whose members help ½ million low income households each year commented “It is astounding that such a large proportion of our population can not afford basic items such as washing machines, fridges, sofas and beds. These are items that most of us take for granted. Furniture re-use organisations which supply these items to low income families receive little or no support from the Government to meet these needs. We would happily participate in a Government taskforce to look specifically at the issue of material deprivation and how it can be tackled.”
Commenting on the UNICEF study Paul asked noted, “The issues raised by the study included the lack of social interaction within British households. This is reflected in the work of our members who are finding that the demand for dining tables has dropped dramatically.”
The re-use of goods no longer wanted and the repair of items that would otherwise be discarded also plays an important role in reducing landfill and greenhouse gases as part of the drive to tackle climate change.