Disadvantaged children 'missing out on meals for part of the summer holidays'

Northumberland Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.Northumberland Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.
Northumberland Labour Group leader Scott Dickinson.
The Northumberland Labour Group has criticised the Government, saying the funding it has provided for meals to those in need over the summer holidays is not enough.

It claims the national Holiday Activities and Food programme, which was expanded last year under mounting public pressure, provides meals for 16 of the 30 days of the school holidays – leaving children who would be eligible for free school meals without food support for 14 days.

Northumberland County Council announced last week that it has been awarded £1,029,980 from the programme – a nationwide investment of up to £220million to enable local authorities to run holiday programmes during the school holidays, including the upcoming summer break and Christmas 2021 – and as part of this, “healthy meals” will be provided.

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But Northumberland Labour leader Scott Dickinson said: “Once again the Government is falling short and failing children when it should be moving heaven and earth to support them.

“In Northumberland last year, we saw well over 1,000 children fall into poverty because of the pandemic, many from families which have never had to ask for Government help before.

“In an advanced country such as the UK, no child should be going hungry yet, once again, the Government is not stepping up to the task of supporting families to keep children fed.

“We will be pressing the council's leaders to drive this message home and doing everything we can to make sure children in Northumberland have the support they need over the summer holidays.”