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It’s time for action on child food poverty
01st September 2020
As children return to school across the UK, it is great to see campaigners like Marcus Rashford continuing to highlight the plight of families at this difficult time.
TLG would like to add its voice to those of Marcus and some of the biggest food brands in the UK in calling on the Government to agree to three policy decisions aimed at eradicating child hunger.
These policy decisions include the expansion of Free School Meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, reaching an additional 1.5 million 7 – 16-year-olds and the expansion of holiday provision (food and activities) to support all children on Free School Meals, reaching an additional 1.1 million children.
Working on the frontline to support families facing food insecurity, TLG sees first-hand the struggles families on a low-income face. The daily worries of not knowing where your next meal will come from or if you have enough money to get through the week, faced by many prior to COVID-19, have been intensified by the crisis. Even more families are now facing severe food insecurity as a result of their income being dramatically impacted by the global pandemic.
With thousands of children and families in desperate need of additional support, it is critical the Government commits to the policy recommendations as a matter of urgency. This needs to be part of an expansive response that offers a safety net for all families suddenly thrown into poverty by the COVID-19 crisis.
While these policy recommendations are rightfully focused on food provision, food insecurity can have repercussions on more than just food. Across the UK, many families on a low income will make a daily choice between heating or eating, an impossible choice that is only worsened with winter approaching. Providing additional food and funding in this way for these families means they will not only be able to feed their children, but they can prioritise paying for fuel to heat their homes so children are kept warm during the long winter months.
With Lockdown easing and schools reopening, many of us are starting to adapt to the ‘new normal’. But for those families who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and those who were already struggling, the anxiety, hunger and unending struggle of surviving on a low income will go on unless something is urgently done about it. It is time for action.
Before coming to TLG, Beth worked as a Fundraising Project Manager for poverty-relief charity Christians Against Poverty. Beth also has experience in the political sector, having worked for a Government Minister. She was one of the youngest Parliamentary candidates in the country in the 2015 and 2017 General Elections, narrowly missing out on a seat in Parliament in 2017. Beth is a season ticket holder at Huddersfield Town and enjoys hiking through the Yorkshire countryside followed by a local ale in the pub.