MORE than one in 20 children (6%) in the UK are being forced to sleep on the floor because they do not have a bed, according to a new poll.

The extensive survey carried out for the children’s charity Barnardo’s also found that a further one in 10 British kids (9%) have to share a bed with a family member because they do not have their own.

David Linden, the SNP’s social justice spokesperson, said the news showed the impact of “the Tories’ economic mismanagement and callous austerity” on the UK’s young people.

Barnardo’s commissioned YouGov to conduct the survey, from which it extrapolated that there could be 440,000 British children sleeping on the floor and around 700,000 children sharing beds because they don't have a bed of their own.

READ MORE: UK Government benefits system could send 1.8 million more into poverty

Of the children who said they had to share a bed, many said it left them feeling tired the next day during school, embarrassed (such as when going through puberty), anxious, or unhappy.

One Barnardo’s worker said: “I often see families sharing mattresses on the floor with no sheets on or badly soiled duvets. These items come very low on the list of items to purchase when families are struggling to make ends meet, especially since the rise in food bills and heating bills. On some occasions children and mum are all sleeping in one bed.”

The charity also shared testimony from a Carlisle family of three – a single mother and two daughters – who were forced to sleep together in one room as they could not afford heating bills.

While the girls shared a mattress on the floor, mum Shelley slept on the sofa. Daughter Ash, who was studying her GCSEs, said: “Sharing with a nine-year-old isn’t easy. People on the street, people at school might have no idea at all of what you’re dealing with at home, that you’ve barely slept.”

Lynn Perry MBE, Barnardo’s CEO, said: “It is unacceptable that at least one child in every classroom is sleeping in the floor because they don’t have a bed of their own, in one of the richest countries in the world. 

“Bed poverty is just one aspect of child poverty, yet it starkly illustrates the challenges faced by families not having enough money to afford the essentials needed to raise happy and healthy children."

The National:

Linden (above) said: “No one has been made to suffer through this Tory-made cost of living crisis more than children from vulnerable and low-income households who are being made to bear the brunt of the Tories’ economic mismanagement and callous austerity.

“Add these findings to the reports of families foregoing basic essentials, and the reality that will occur again this winter of families having to choose between whether to heat or eat, and a very bleak picture is painted of modern Britain under this damaging Westminster rule.

“Children need to be given the best start in life, that’s why I’m proud of the SNP’s Baby Box and Scottish Child Payment which has lifted tens of thousands of children out of poverty - but this work risks being undone by Westminster.

READ MORE: Scottish child payment 'significantly' impacting child poverty

“We can no longer sit and watch as the Tories at Westminster impose devastating poverty and hardship on our children and families against our best efforts to see them thrive.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We know people are struggling with rising prices, which is why we are providing record financial support worth around £3300 per household and driving down inflation to make everyone’s money go further.

“On top of this we have given an extra £82 million to help people in Scotland with food, clothing and other essential costs like beds and have raised benefits and pensions by over 10%."

YouGov surveyed 1049 parents with children under 18 and 1013 children aged 8-17 across Great Britain.