MP fears many kids will go hungry during holidays

Washington and Sunderland  West MP Sharon Hodgson visiting the breakfast club at Town End Farm Academy.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson visiting the breakfast club at Town End Farm Academy.
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A Wearside MP says the poorest children in Sunderland will be among those going hungry during school holidays.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, who is also chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Group for School Food, has hit out at the Government over its failure to address child hunger during the summer holidays.

A damning report researched by YouGov for Kelloggs showed more than six out of 10 parents with household incomes of less than £25,000 said they weren’t always able to afford to buy food outside of term time.

Mrs Hodgson has made it the group’s priority to address holiday hunger and set up a Holiday Hunger Task Group chaired by Lindsay Graham, author of the report ‘170 Days’, which launched a conference to give guidelines for organisations providing community holiday time meals for children.

Mrs Hodgson said: “Whilst the roll-out of universal infant free school meals has helped address child hunger during term time and will have a positive impact on child health and educational outcomes, it is now important that this Government works on addressing hunger during the school holidays.

“This report clearly shows this is an extremely stressful time for families on low-incomes.

“Teachers across the country know full well when children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds leave for the summer holidays they will return back to school in the autumn malnourished and behind their peers in terms of their educational attainment.

“Food banks also report increased usage over the school holidays.

“Instead of washing their hands of this growing issue here in the UK, the Government must do more to make sure that parents don’t struggle to feed their children during the holidays which will reverse the positive work seen during term time to improve educational and health outcomes of children.”