Reports Veg Cities

Maximising the Impact of Healthy Start

Every child deserves the best start in life, and adequate nutrition during the first months and years of life is critical to future health and development. The Healthy Start Scheme provides a vital nutritional safety net, offering much needed additional cash support to pregnant people and primary carers of young children on the lowest incomes, as well as pregnant teenagers regardless of income.


However, the scheme is not meeting its full potential with persistently low uptake rates, and too many families experiencing sharp food insecurity, including those with no recourse to public funds, remain excluded. The value of the support has not kept pace with inflation, and the latest uptake rate for April 2024 - at just 62.4% - is falling far below the Government target of 75%, leaving an estimated £57,914,354 of support unclaimed. Uptake rates and cash support shortfalls can be viewed per local authority here.

The Healthy Start Working Group, comprised of organisations advocating on Healthy Start and jointly convened by Sustain and the Food Foundation, has published a Parliamentary Briefing calling on the Government to:

  • Maximise the uptake of Healthy Start through auto-enrolment
  • Increase the value of Healthy Start payments in line with inflation
  • Expand eligibility to all families with children under the age of five and pregnant people who are either on Universal Credit or with No Recourse to Public Funds and on very low incomes

Maximising the Impact of Healthy Start
4pp - 2024 | 135Kb


Published Monday 20 May 2024

Veg Cities: We need your help to get your city or local area growing, cooking, selling and saving more vegetables.

4pp - 2024


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