Letter: Please support the Holiday Food Provision Bill through Parliament

Date published: 08 December 2017

Dear Editor,

Shortly, thousands of children across Rochdale and Greater Manchester will be breaking up for the Christmas holidays.

They should be looking forward to a fun-filled few weeks.

Instead a great many families are facing the anxiety and injustice of holiday hunger, trying to make ends meet.

Successive governments have long recognised that many children should receive free school meals, to help families to overcome poverty.

However, children need that guaranteed daily nutrition all year round – not just on the 170 days they are at school.

There are some grassroots projects around the country doing fantastic work to help fill the void, but cover is sporadic and something more comprehensive and sustainable is required.

UNICEF has found that one in 10 children in the UK are in households suffering from 'severe food insecurity'. This is the highest level in the EU.

If the Government is to improve the lives, welfare and opportunities of children here in Rochdale and all over the UK, then it must commit to providing a solution now.

I hope fellow Rochdale Online readers will join me in writing to our local MPs to ask them to back the End Hunger UK campaign, so families can enjoy the school holidays rather than dreading them.

This June’s UNICEF report should have shocked Britain into action. Britain has the highest level of children brought up in severe food poverty.

A 'Holiday Food Provision Bill' is going through the Houses of Parliament now. Many MPs have already declared their support, but we need more to do so.

Please email your MP and ask them to support the bill by:

  • Writing to Robert Halfon, chair of the education select committee, asking his committee to investigate holiday hunger.
  • Writing to their party's education spokesperson, asking them to take a stand against holiday hunger.
  • To table a parliamentary question, asking how many families in Rochdale would be entitled to free school meals under the pre-universal free school meals system 

Concerned readers of Rochdale Online can do this at:

Thank you.


Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.