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Church leaders call for end to holiday hunger

Mon 04 Sep 2017
By Marcus Jones

Church leaders from across the UK are uniting to call on the government to put an end to holiday hunger.

In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, they say many children will be returning to school after a very difficult holiday period.

They cite first-hand accounts of children returning to school in a worse educational, health and developmental state than when they ended the previous term.

The leaders which include Bishop of Durham Rt Rev Paul Butler and Rev Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference say the government needs to extend the free school meals programme from 39 to 52 weeks a year.

The letter comes just a day before Labour MP Frank Field tables his School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill, which calls on the Government to give all councils the duty and resources to provide food and activities during the school holidays, for children who would otherwise go hungry.

One of the other signatories, Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty said: "Holiday hunger threatens children across the country, and means the holidays are a time of hardship rather than enjoyment.

"The breadth of support for Government action is heartening, and we hope MPs from all parties will help to make the new legislation law."

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