NEWS / Sustain

Tinned fruit, vegetables and pulses now included in Healthy Start scheme

Families in England and Wales can now use Healthy Start vouchers to buy tinned fruit and veg and pulses. 

The Government has extended the Healthy Start scheme to include tinned fruit, vegetables and pulses from 1 October 2020 in England and Wales, in addition to cow's milk, infant formula, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. This extension includes tinned fruits in fruit juice or water and tinned vegetables and pulses in water. However, it does not include items that have had fat, salt or sugar flavouring added to them, such as fruit in syrup or baked beans. 

“With the social and economic impact of Covid-19 likely to last through the winter and beyond, it is more important than ever that pregnant women, mothers and young children are able to access nutritious food.”

Simon Shaw, Head of Food Poverty Programme at Sustain 

Though these changes are welcome, there are still problems with uptake of the scheme. The latest figures for England show the uptake in vouchers has fallen from 54% in Sept 2019 to 47% in Sept 2020 which equates to a shortfall of around £55m that families have missed out on. Action is needed to ensure the scheme supports more families through this challenging time.  

Sustain continues to campaign for an increase to the value of Healthy Start vouchers and to extend eligibility to all pregnant women and families with under-4's on Universal Credit in the upcoming Spending Review. Take our latest campaign action.  

Action should also include clear communication of changes to the scheme to users and public health officials and accelerating the move from the current paper application process to a digital service, which is currently not due to be completed until October 2021.  

Find out more about Healthy Start vouchers and how to apply 

Join our Healthy Start email forum 

Email healthy_start-subscribe@lists.riseup.net to join our email forum for a chance to ask questions, share resources and get support from others working on the scheme. 

Learn more about Healthy Start and how food poverty alliances and the Veg Cities campaign are working to increase uptake of Healthy Start. 


30/09/2020
Sustain

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