At this crucial moment in time for Government strategy and support, we submitted a Comprehensive Spending Review representation in alliance with several other organisations including: Food Foundation, Bite Back 2030, Save the Children UK, School Food Matters and LACA.
Our representation sits in line with the National Food Strategy (NFS) recommendations and sets out our belief that investment in the following three programmes should be scaled up in the Comprehensive Spending Review, to benefit children living in poverty in England.
- Expand eligibility for free school meals (FSM) to include children from all families receiving Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits)
- Extend the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme to all areas in England, to make summer holiday support available to all children receiving FSM
- Increase the value of Healthy Start (HS) vouchers to £4.25 per week and extend the scheme to every pregnant woman and parent/guardian in receipt of Universal Credit (or equivalent benefits)
Providing this recovery package for families should be a priority for this Government. In the last six months, 14 % of parents have experienced food insecurity, with 4 million people living in these affected households including 2.3 million children (Food Foundation data).
The three recommendations reflect those in Part One of the NFS published in late July 2020 that calls for the Government to ‘move quickly to shore up the diets of the most deprived children using existing, proven mechanisms’ by providing a ‘nutritional safety net’ to those in the poorest households.
Prioritising this package in the spending review will be a significant step on the journey to improving the lives of more than two million additional disadvantaged children and their families in England.