Birkenhead MP supports key actions to tackle child food poverty

The UK’s public health leaders have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outlining three key actions to tackle child food poverty and help support a healthy population and productive economy.

The letter, headed by the Faculty of Public Health, the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Royal Society for Public Health, and the School and Public Health Nurses Association, has received widespread support from Parliamentarians and third-sector organisations.

Along with over 30 MPs and 20 members of the House of Lords, Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley has signed the letter, which calls on the Prime Minister to support the health and development of our children by expanding access to Free School Meals, the National School Breakfast Programme, and the Healthy Start scheme.

In September of 2022, over a quarter of households with children experienced food insecurity, and the current cost-of-living crisis will increase this number.

Childhood food insecurity contributes to increased anxiety, poor mental health, poor social and emotional development, and a reduced level of achievement in school. This is a serious public health issue that requires a co-ordinated and sustainable response.

The 100+ signatories of the letter make three key asks of Government to tackle this crisis and help provide children and families with the safety net they desperately need;

  1. Expand access to Free School Meals for all children in households receiving Universal Credit, removing the £7,400 income cap.
  2. Increase funding to the National School Breakfast Programme to expand delivery initially from 2,500 schools to 5,000, with a long-term plan to provide coverage to a higher percentage of disadvantaged pupils.
  3. Promote access to the Healthy Start scheme, and expand access to all families with young children who receive Universal Credit.

Mick Whitley MP said, “To deliver on these asks, I, along with the other signatories, recommend the creation of new targeted levies on unhealthy food and drink, such as an expansion of the proven and effective Sugar Drinks Industry Levy, or for government to adopt the National Food Strategy recommendation of a new salt and sugar levy.”

These new levies would be paid directly by manufacturers of unhealthy food and would bolster the health of families across the UK through reformulation leading to reduced sugar and salt intake, saving the NHS billions of pounds and supporting a healthy workforce.

The MP for Birkenhead added, “This is a solution that would generate revenue and improve children’s diets and physical health now and into the future.”

Image: Bonnie Kittle

Why not follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? You can also send story ideas to

Share this

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Facebook comments

Latest news