William Eichler 22 August 2019

Millions of children go hungry over summer holidays, Labour say

Government funding on holiday hunger supported less than 4% of all children who are currently eligible for free school meals, the Labour Party have said.

The Department for Education organised a pilot this summer which saw £9m invested in summer holiday clubs. They provided free activities and healthy meals for disadvantaged children in 11 council areas.

However, Labour say that this funding supported less than 4% of children currently eligible for free school meals, and left over 1.2 million of those children with no additional support over the holidays.

Over four million children across England are living in poverty, in families that may not be able to afford adequate food. Around 1.25 million of them are eligible for free school meals (FSM).

‘Millions of children have faced a summer of hunger after years of inaction by a government that has let child poverty grow into a crisis,’ said Steve Reed, Labour’s Shadow Children and Families Minister.

‘No country that loves its children would allow children to spend the summer going hungry instead of enjoying their holidays.

‘These figures should be a wake-up call for the government to take urgent action to tackle the scandalous levels of child poverty in our country.’

A Department for Education spokesperson responded: ‘This year we invested £9m in summer holiday clubs, providing free activities and healthy meals for disadvantaged children in 11 local authority areas.

‘This pilot will help show how we coordinate free provision in different areas, and help us decide how best to intervene in the future.’

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