With the schools breaking up for the long summer holidays, Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden appealed to the prime minister to do more to help families worried about how to feed their children during the six week break.
Intervening in the last prime minister’s questions (PMQs) of this parliamentary session today (Wednesday July 19), Unite member Carden asked the prime minister to reassure the people of Walton, where nearly 40 per cent of children are growing up in poverty, that they will get help to avoid holiday hunger. Last summer 2,600 emergency food parcels were given out by North Liverpool food banks, a third of those going to children.
Speaking after his debut PMQs intervention, new MP Dan Carden said, “I urged Theresa May to set out how struggling families and children can be supported over the summer holidays.
“Unfortunately she declined to give the answer that worried parents in Walton and across the country wanted to hear.
“Mrs May could have offered struggling mums and dads some hope for this summer. She could have said that she will act to ensure that kids won’t go hungry this summer and will return to school in September fit for learning.
“She chose not to.
“The children of Walton, and across the country, deserve far better from their government. If this Tory one cannot act to put food in poorer children’s bellies, then they don’t deserve to be in office. They need to go. Let Labour get on with the job of giving our kids a decent chance in life.”
Maidenhead food bank
As a further illustration of the spread of food poverty across the country, last week a food bank in the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Maidenhead appealed for donations to meet the anticipated demand from struggling local families over the school break.
In April, the all-party parliamentary group on hunger warned that three million children will go hungry during the school holidays, with many existing on a diet of crisps and cheap stodge when the school canteens are shut, returning to school after the holidays ‘malnourished, sluggish and dreary’.
The group added that children growing up in food poverty came back from the holidays ‘intellectually behind their more fortunate peers who had enjoyed a wholesome diet and lots of activity’ during the break.
Carden ended, “The Prime Minister says that ‘there are many complex reasons’ why people use foodbanks. Today I put it to her and her party that the answer to the rise in food poverty is not so hard to find. It is staring her in the face – seven years of life-sapping, wrong-headed Tory austerity.
“Even in her home counties constituency, children will go hungry this summer. So it is not rocket science, or even remotely complex – this is what happens when household incomes simply cannot keep pace with the cost of living.
“Jeremy Corbyn said that the prime minister needs a reality check – that for too many in this country, work does not pay. This is a scandal, and the fact that this Tory government stubbornly refuses to stop children paying the price for their austerity is an absolute disgrace.”