New data from the Food Foundation suggests that around 1.9 million children have been affected by food insecurity in the last 6 months, and 2% of parents have reported skipping meals entirely to provide for their children.
Harlow MP, Robert Halfon, is calling on the Government for a national long-term strategy to combat child food hunger across the UK.
In Parliament, Mr Halfon has been a champion of Marcus Rashford’s cross-party campaign against child food insecurity, and met with the 22-year-old footballer earlier in September to discuss the National Food Strategy’s recommendations.
The Harlow MP was an influential voice during the lockdown on support for disadvantaged pupils and was instrumental in the Government’s extension of free school meals over the school holidays. He also helped to secure free summer activity camps for children in Harlow, after calling on Essex County Council to launch the scheme.
Now, Mr Halfon is urging a longer-term strategy, seeking an expansion of the Holiday Activity and Food programme, to ensure that disadvantaged pupils are properly fed whilst schools are closed and are supported with catch-up tuition and mentoring.
The Harlow MP is also calling for an evaluation of the plethora of existing schemes currently funded by the Government should be consolidated, and whether the current eligibility for free school meals should be extended to all children whose families are in receipt of Universal Credit or other welfare relief.
Mr Halfon set out his proposals and explained why a national strategy to combat child food hunger is needed in a powerful article for a political news website, today: www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2020/10/robert-halfon-delivering-social-justice-means-feeding-children-properly-were-not-doing-so-and-we-must.html
This week, Mr Halfon has also tabled a House of Commons Early Day Motion on tackling child food insecurity, which recognises that 11% of parents and 6% of children have directly experienced food insecurity in the last month, and calls on the Government to expand eligibility for free school meals, extend the Holiday Activities and Food programme and increase the value of Healthy Start supermarket vouchers for eligible pregnant mothers and parents of under-4s.
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