One in four say better housing would make the biggest difference to their family life

A quarter want better access to more parks and open spaces for children to play in

More than half of parents believe family life is getting harder, says new research from children and families chairty 4Children.

The research comes during Cold Homes Week, a national campaign for warmer homes and lower bills, which also highlights the impact of poor quality housing on family life.

4Children’s YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people shows that just over a quarter of parents believe that having better housing would make the most real positive difference to their family life. A similar figure do not think their neighbourhood is a good one for children to grow up in and that better access to more parks and open spaces for children to play in would make the most positive difference to their family life.

"The link between housing, poverty and children’s life chances must be acknowledged," said Anne Longfield, Chief Executive of 4Children. "There is growing recognition of the need for high quality, more affordable, social housing, but we must also invest in housing that offers children the childhoods they deserve, with sufficient living space, a good communal area and open play areas nearby.

"Britain needs a radical culture change in its entire system of support for families, from housing and public services to childcare and workplace policy. It's in everyone's interest to think long term about redesigning our neighbourhoods and communities for Britain's children and families of the future."

4Children is calling for national and local leaders to embark on a major building programme of affordable and social housing, and make a family commitment to all aspects of the local community, including planning, public spaces and parks, transport and policing. it also wants to see action to solve the issues behind 'problem estates', including action on gangs

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: "We know that places matter to people in poverty. It is unacceptable that in England in 2014 people in the poorest neighbourhoods will die an average of seven years earlier than those in the richest neighbourhoods. That’s why services and homes are so important. Both can provide the bedrock for a stable, secure and prosperous upbringing.

"We can invest in our infrastructure now - our homes, our childcare - or store up trouble for the future."

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