Frank Field MP
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A manifesto proposal to improve children's life chances


The political parties now have only a few days left to write their General Election manifesto.

I submitted a manifesto proposal this week for a national programme of free meals and fun during school holidays to improve children’s life chances.

Feeding Birkenhead has over the past two years provided such a service for over 2,000 children across the town.

But we know there are some parts of town where families are unable to access the service.

The all-party inquiry on hunger amongst children during school holidays, which I chaired for the past two months, has identified a similar picture across the country: some terrific examples of community groups and volunteers channelling their energies into preventing children from being hungry, but many parts of the country where such help is not available.

Families in those cases are struggling with the barrage of additional costs that come with the arrival of the holidays.

The inquiry learnt of a group of children taking part in a holiday football tournament who had to drop out of the latter stages of the competition, as they had not eaten a meal in the days leading up to the event.

Their bodies simply gave up on them.

Likewise there are parents staving off hunger with dinners consisting of flavoured water, cereal, or any scraps of food left on their children’s plates, in a last ditch attempt to feed their children as best as they possibly can during school holidays.

The reform package we have proposed – a public investment of £41.5 million from the soft drinks levy to eradicate the threat of hunger amongst children during school holidays – would ensure that every child can return to school ready to learn, and improve their chances of growing up to become healthy adults.

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