14% of UK families with children experiencing food insecurity

The Food Foundation has joined the Child Food Poverty Task Force formed by Marcus Rashford which is calling on the Government to implement 3 National Food Strategy policy recommendations to support our most vulnerable children.

Recent data reveals that 14% of adults living with children reported experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity in the last 6 months. Four million people including 2.3 million children live in these households. After the Government’s U-turn on school meals, the task force has committed to extending help and support to families across the UK.

The data also revealed:

  • 12% of adults living with children reported skipping meals because they could not afford or access food in the last 6 months.
  • 4% of adults living with children reported having gone for a whole day without eating in the last 6 months.
  • 10% of parents/guardians, affecting an estimated 1.9million children, reported that food insecurity had affected their children in a variety of ways in the last 6 months forcing them to rely on only a few kinds of low cost food to feed their children (6%) and provide unbalanced meals (5%), and to resort to smaller portions (1%) or skipping meals entirely (2%).

Furthermore, the Food Foundation’s Covid-19 tracker shows that, despite people returning to work and children to school, food insecurity remains extremely high for families. This is a problem that will have life long consequences for children. A lack of good nutrition and accessibility to healthy foods will ultimately contribute to the increasing obesity problems in the UK

Despite the free school meals and some vouchers, a large number of children are still left in a precarious situation when it comes to securing the necessary healthy diet for them to grow, develop and participate actively in school and society.

Footballer, Marcus Rashford’s Task Force is asking Government to allocate sufficient budget to implementing 3 policy recommendations included in the National Food Strategy:

  • Expand eligibility for the Free School Meal scheme 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). Under this recommendation an estimated additional 1.5 million 7-16 year olds would benefit from Free School Meals.
  • Extend the Holiday Activity and Food Programme to all areas in England, so that summer holiday support is available to all children in receipt of Free School Meals.
  • Increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week and expand the scheme to every pregnant woman and to all households with children under 4 where a parent or guardian is in receipt of Universal Credit or equivalent benefits.

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