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Petitions Committee Chair calls for further action to combat child food poverty

3rd Nov 2021 - 09:40
Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP has welcomed the Government’s announcement in the Autumn Budget statement to provide £200 million a year to continue the Holiday Activity and Food programme but said there are still gaps in support which need further action to help alleviate child food poverty.

McKinnell has raised concerns that there are gaps in support for children from families on low incomes too low to avoid food insecurity but not low enough for free school meals (FSM) or the Healthy Start voucher scheme.

Speaking about the announcement to continue funding support for the Holiday Activity and Food programme, she said: “The Committee has previously raised concerns with Ministers about the lack of a long-term funding commitment, so this is welcome.

“Marcus Rashford’s petition and campaign has done so much to draw attention to the distressing fact of child food poverty in England, but with families facing rising food prices this winter, Government must do more on this issue.

“I know campaigners have raised particular concerns about lack of support for children from families on low incomes who don’t qualify for free school meals. The Government must look closely at the recommendations when it responds to the National Food Strategy review in the new year.”

The National Food Strategy recommended that FSM eligibility should be expanded to all children aged 7-18 in all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits.

Written by
Edward Waddell