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Hírkategória: Általános
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    Ending Child Food Poverty in the UK: xpanding Support and Increasing Access to a Healthy Diet for All Children in Need
    [2024.05.23.] - MST - Hírkategória: Általános

    Thursday, July 11th 2024

    Webinar

    Key Speakers Include:

    Jonathan Pauling, Chief Executive at Alexandra Rose Charity

    Event Details

    Website

    Register to Attend

    15% of UK households – some 8 million adults and 3 million children – experienced food insecurity in January 2024. 60% of food-insecure households reported buying less fruit and 44% bought fewer vegetables. In January 2023, the Food Foundation estimated 24% of households with children were living in food insecurity. The largest network of foodbanks in the UK, the Trussell Trust, provided a record 2.99 million three-day emergency food supplies in 2022/23. Children are facing the brunt of rising UK food poverty. 3% of the UK population used a food bank in 2021/22, including 6% of children. According to government data, 4.7 million people (7%) in the UK were in food insecure households in 2021/22, including 12% of children. Of the 11 million people identified to be in relative poverty, 15% were in food-insecure households, including 21% of children who also comprised the highest percentage of people living in households with ‘very low’ food security in 2021/22. It is estimated that 2 million pupils, or 23.8% of state-funded pupils, were eligible for free school meals (FSM) as of January 2023. According to government figures, pupils eligible for FSM typically perform worse in GCSEs than other students.

    In England, the government’s FSM initiatives require local authorities to provide eligible pupils with weekday nutritious term-time meals. If eligible for free school meals, families will receive a monthly 'cost of living' voucher, worth £15 per month, per child, with an additional payment of £30 for the summer and for December, totalling £240 a year per child. Additionally, the Healthy Start NHS scheme helps women who are pregnant or have young children and are receiving benefits, to buy foods such as milk or fruit. Presently, a Private Member's School Breakfast Bill, sponsored by Emma Lewell-Buck MP, is being debated in Parliament.

    The Local Government Association (LGA) urges the government to raise the eligibility requirements for Healthy Start and FSM to all Universal Credit-eligible households, switch to an automatic FSM enrolment mechanism, and support multi-sector food partnerships. According to the LGA, the primary safety net for all low-income households should be the national benefit system. However, it does not cover people's real cost of living which is the main cause of food poverty. More than half of Universal Credit users experienced food hardship in September 2022. Several English councils offer FMS to all primary school students in their districts despite severe financial constraints, including Southwark Council, where 38% of children are impoverished, whereas many families earning more than £7,400 per year would not qualify for FSM under the national offer. The Food Foundation agrees, stating that the government’s approach has ‘missed the mark’ because rising numbers of low-income households are now even more vulnerable to diet-related illnesses. Similar criticism of the present FSM eligibility process has come from the Child Poverty Action Group, which has warned against means testing. Under the No Child Left Behind campaign, the National Education Union is also advocating for FSM for all English primary school students. In Scotland and Wales, meanwhile, government money is enabling primary schools to transition to providing FSM for all students.

    This symposium will serve as an invaluable opportunity to bring together stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, charities, local authorities, policymakers, and schools, to discuss the underlying causes of child food poverty evaluate current efforts to tackle food insecurity and improve access to healthy food, and exchange views on avenues for improvement.

    Programme

    • Examine government policies to combat child food poverty, such as Healthy Start and Free School Meals

    • Discuss how the cost-of-living crisis has affected child food poverty and the services provided to food-insecure children

    • Determine the root causes of child food poverty and evaluate possible solutions

    • Discuss the roles that charities, local government, and schools should play in ending child food poverty

    • Establish the importance of early intervention in reducing adverse outcomes for food-insecure children

    • Analyse ways to bridge the gap between food waste and child food poverty

    • Discuss ways to bolster nutritional safety nets to shield children from undernourishment and improve diets

    • Consider increasing the role of food education in the school curriculum

    To register for the briefing, please click here.

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