Poor families struggle to find money for healthy meals during school holidays

Families on income support are struggling to find the money to
feed their children nutritious meals during school holidays,
according to a report published today by children’s charity
Barnardo’s, writes Lindsay

A family of with three children that receives free school meals
during term time could have to find an extra £25 a week to
provide nutritious meals, the charity said. 

The report Food Poverty in the School Holidays estimates
that the cost of extra meals during holidays could be putting an
unbearable financial burden on families relying on income support
and job seekers allowance.

“Poverty really hits children in the school holidays because
there are more demands on their parents and less money to meet
these demands,” said Barnardo’s principal policy
officer Neera Sharma.

”There is increasing evidence, which has been borne out by
our projects, that families who live on benefits cannot afford to
feed their children a healthy diet.

“While that situation is allowed to continue, children of
parents on low incomes are going to be more likely to suffer ill
health both now and in later life. People of all ages in poorer
households have lower nutrient intakes than people in richer

Barnado’s is calling on the government to increase financial
support to poor families during the school holidays, introduce a
development grant to help fund holiday activities and introduce
minimum income standards for parents.

More than 3.5 million children in the UK were living below the
poverty line in 2002-2003, according to government figures. The
government aims to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

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