Britain’s Starving Children
Research by the Kids Company and NetMums claiming that more than a million children in Britain are starving has been described as “shocking” by Bevan Foundation Director Victoria Winckler. Speaking on BBC Radio Wales’s Good Morning Wales programme on 5th July, she said that although it wasn’t clear how the Kids Company had produced its estimate, UK Government statistics showed that 1 in 5 children in Wales live in severe poverty.
This is an income of less than £262 a week, after housing costs, for a family of two adults and two children. Rising costs, especially of food and energy, as well as changes to benefits, redundancy and uncertainty about wages are putting families under real pressure she said. She pointed to the increases in demand for food parcels from Wales’s food banks as further evidence that some families are going without enough to eat.
The long-term solution lies in more jobs and better pay, Victoria Winckler suggested, although in the short-term she pointed out that free school meals and free school breakfasts could make a big contribution, at least when children are at school. She said that the Welsh Government should shortly be reviewing eligibility for free meals because of changes to benefits and that they should take the concerns about hungry children into account.
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