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Caught in the poverty trap

Children are desperate to cover up the extent of their poverty, Jean Miller, assistant head at Hillpark Secondary in Glasgow, told the conference.

"We often deal with children having difficulty attending school due to losing travel passes and being unable to afford bus fares, ripping clothes and not having spares until the next giro arrives, missing school because they are primary carers in the house to sick parents, not turning up on non-uniform days because they don't have trendy clothes and being sick on school trip days because they don't have the spending money," she said.

One 14-year-old told an English teacher at the school: "My area is so rundown because not many people work. There's vandalism, derelict houses, too much crime, too many homeless people, gangs on the street, drugs and the list is endless."

Another Hillpark pupil said: "Some people die really young because they get depressed. They can't afford nice things or they are addicted to things they shouldn't. They don't eat as healthy. They eat what they can afford."

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