The summer holidays have begun here in Britain. For many children of low-income families what should be a happy time is instead filled with anxiety. Food aid charities predict an upsurge in poorer families relying on food banks, now that the school kitchens they relied on to provide their children with a buttered piece of toast at a morning breakfast club or a hot meal at lunch are closed for the summer.
Last week, a group of concerned parliamentarians hosted a meeting to discuss Human Rights Watch’s recent report on the right to food in the UK. Our research found that deep austerity-driven cuts to welfare spending and local authority funding over the past decade have left low-income families hungry and dependent on food aid from charities.
For children, the school canteen may be the only place they get a hot meal all day. With schools shut for the summer, up to a million children risk going hungry. The Trussell Trust, the UK’s largest national food bank network, recently revealed that it saw a 20 percent rise in emergency food parcels for children last summer, and they expect more this year.