A group of food and beverage organisations – including some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets – have formed a new task force to help reduce child food poverty, headed by England footballer Marcus Rashford.
The news follows the footballer’s successful campaign earlier this year to extend free school meals this summer for eligible school pupils.
The Child Food Poverty Task Force brings together a variety of supermarkets, businesses and charities such as Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Kellogg, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
Together, the companies intend to endorse recommendations by the National Food Strategy, an independent review of UK food policy, and is calling for these to be funded by the government as soon as possible.
The three policies include expanding free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent, expanding holiday provisions to all children on free school meals, as well as increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week from £3.10.
With these policies, the task force aims to reach an additional 1.5 million 7-16 year olds with free school meals and an additional 1.1 million children with holiday provisions such as food and activities. According to the group, the task force marks a unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child food poverty in the UK.
“4.2 million children were living in poverty in the UK prior to Covid-19 and this is expected to have risen; the Task Force stand together to offer these vulnerable children the platform they need to have their voices heard,” said Marcus Rashford.
He added: “The time for action is now. I’m proud and I’m humbled to see such a reaction and commitment from the food industry, and I am confident that together we can help change the lives of those most vulnerable for the better.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of UK food charity FareShare, said: “We are grateful to Marcus for his continued support of FareShare and for bravely shining a light on such an important issue, and look forward to working with him and the Task Force in the coming weeks to change the state of child hunger in the UK.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019