Hunger Doesn’t See Holidays: The Government’s Rejection Of A Free-School Meal Extension

Sam Nicholson

Public outcry, high-profile attention, charities and businesses rallying to feed our children feels like a double-edged sword. It is a comfort that the majority of the UK does not believe the government voting against free school meal holiday extension to feed children, during the pandemic of a century, was the right thing to do and that the public may be able to help families.

However, the fact we are relying on charities to feed the ever-increasing numbers of UK children in poverty is an uncomfortable reality.

It is a reminder that the Government of the fifth largest GDP in the world have again abandoned children, one third of whom are living in poverty.

A Prime Minister who can muster up over £50 million for a garden bridge and £10 billion for a test and trace system has access to money. However, he does not feel the need to fulfil one of the primary goals of government- to feed its people- and give £20 million for free school meals this past half term.

When the Minister for Children does not even vote to feed them, it is a clear message that this government does not care for the poor and vulnerable members of our society

It seems the government simply does not want to fund it. It shows how deprived  the cabinet is of real-world experience, so much so that they do not recognise the reality of hunger facing British children.

When the Minister for Children does not even vote to feed them, it is a clear message that this government does not care for the poor and vulnerable members of our society.

I put this to the government. By voting down the extension you argue public money should not be used, but then we simply cannot have a tax system that recognises achievement and not have a welfare system that feeds every child who needs it, allowing them to have enough food to achieve their potential.

It is clear the moral approach has not worked; I dislike having to take this angle, but perhaps it will persuade.

The need for food does not stop in the holidays

It is an outdated notion, seen after the austerity years, that starving a country of investment will support its growth, if you can’t see the morality of feeding our children, something the public is begging you to do- see that investing in our children’s potential and our families that struggle daily will boost our economy and is an investment in all of our futures.

Please, commit to the ‘levelling up’ agenda you advocate, you must therefore understand how greater equality begins with food?

The need for food does not stop in the holidays. We are begging you, please do not let children and the parents who will sacrifice their meals go hungry in future.

Feed our children. I use ‘our’ purposefully as this pandemic has shown how important it is to care for each other- that is what we, the public are asking you to do.

If you are looking to understand the UK’s poverty crisis further, please watch Channel 4’s Dispatches “Growing up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids” for a powerful insight into the reality of life for many families in the UK.

Sam Nicholson 

Sources used:

Featured image courtesy of Taylor Wilcox via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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