On 24 May 2021, MPs will debate the End Child Food Poverty - No Child Should Go Hungry petition launched by Marcus Rashford in October 2020. This policy briefing sets out facts, figures and what we are currently calling for.
This briefing sets out the current figures on child food poverty and a summary of what investment is needed in Government food programmes to ensure no child goes hungry.
- Covid-19 has caused a sharp rise in food insecurity. 12% of households with children experienced food insecurity between August 2020 and January 2021. 2.3 million children live in these households.
- Over 50% of those using Trussell Trust food banks at the start of the pandemic had never needed one before, and families with children were the hardest hit, accounting for nearly two in five households needing to use a food bank.ii 1 million 8-17 years olds and their families visited a foodbank over December/January.
- Food poverty is an entrenched, long-term problem. Even before Covid-19, 4.3 million children were living in poverty in the UK – 9 in every classroom of 30.
We are calling on the Government to:
- conduct an urgent comprehensive review into the School Food policy across the UK to feed into the next Spending Review.
- expand eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme in England to include every child (up to the age of 16) from a household where the parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits), and consider further development of universal approaches to school food. The temporary extension of Free School Meals to NRPF and low-income migrants during the pandemic should be made permanent.
- Make a longer-term, multi-year commitment to ensure children continue to be protected from going hungry during the holidays. Implementation of HAF in 2021 needs to ensure that no disadvantaged children fall through the cracks.
- Widen access to the Healthy Start scheme to every pregnant woman and all households with children under 4 where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits. Accelerate digitisation accompanied by a large-scale communications campaign led by Government to drive up awareness and uptake.
End child food poverty: No child should be going hungry, debate 24 may 2021
5pp - 2021 | 274Kb
Published 24 May 2021
Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.