Soccer player and activist Marcus Rashford is calling on the government to expand the eligibility criteria for food planning to prevent thousands of children from becoming hungry.
Prior to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Fall Spending Review, Rashford supports recommendations to make food programs available to more low-income households.
Manchester United and England players have successfully campaigned to the government to extend the free school lunch (FSM) offer during school holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He now warns that childhood hunger will worsen as Universal Credit welfare payments return to pre-pandemic levels at the end of this month and fall by £ 20 a week. The end of 2020.
Approximately 15% of households with children have experienced food insecurity in the last six months during an ongoing pandemic, according to a new report released today by the Food Foundation.
Rashford urges people to pressure parliamentarians to make available funds to expand the eligibility of institutions such as FSM ahead of the upcoming spending review next month. There is.
Rashford said: Instead of eliminating support through social security, we need to focus on developing a sustainable long-term roadmap from this child hunger pandemic.
“Today I pledge to support the three recommendations from Part 2 of the National Food Strategy. I hope that the Fall Spending Review promises the necessary investment.
“I write to my MP about it, and I encourage all of you to do the same.
“We need to show that many of us are interested in confronting this and reaching out to the people who need it most in our community.”
The first recommendation is that FSM eligibility is undocumented or “unreliable” for all children between the ages of 7 and 18 in all households with an annual income of £ 20,000 or less, including benefits. Is to extend to children living in households. Immigration status of “To Public Funds” (NRPF).
The second recommendation is to provide long-term funding for government holiday activities and food programs and expand eligibility criteria in the same way as the FSM scheme.
The third recommendation is to extend Healthy Start eligibility to all households with pregnant women and children under the age of 5 who earn less than £ 20,000 a year, including benefits.
The system, which provides health food, milk and vitamin vouchers, is currently targeted at women over 10 weeks gestation and households with children under the age of four.
In addition, Rashford has expressed concern about plans to digitize healthy start schemes. He told the government that recipients would need to reapply and activate benefits by calling NHS lines up to 55p per minute before the newly revamped scheme goes live in the fall. I’m asking you to fix an existing problem with.
The current FSM system is also affected by the “zip code lottery,” a new report from the Food Foundation suggests.
In the UK, only children over the third year of households with incomes less than £ 7,400 (pre-benefit and after-tax) are eligible for FSM.
Very low income standards in the UK mean that half of the children in food-conscious households are excluded from FSM because their families earn just over £ 7,400. According to the Foundation, about 350,000 children are excluded.
In Scotland, all primary school students will soon get an FSM, but secondary school qualification thresholds are the same as in the United Kingdom.
In Northern Ireland, all children in households with incomes less than £ 14,000 (pre-benefit and after-tax) earn an FSM.
In Wales, the threshold is the same as in England, but there is no universal FSM for less than 3 years.
According to a YouGov survey of 1,723 parents, 17% of parents whose children are not FSM-qualified and do not eat regularly in the school cafeteria say school meals are not affordable. I am.
This means that children may skip or rely on their lunch boxes.
However, the Food Foundation points out that less than 2% of packed lunches meet government guidelines for healthy and balanced school meals. British Medical Journal..