Families face food crisis over summer
Reporter: Iram Ramzan
Date published: 03 August 2017
MP Debbie Abrahams
MORE than 7,000 children in Oldham could be at risk of going hungry over the summer, an MP has warned.
It comes as the Trussell Trust, which runs foodbanks, has released data showing increasing reliance on foodbanks during the summer, with 47 per cent of food parcels going to children of primary school age.
There are 7,423 children in the Oldham borough who are eligible for free school meals.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth and Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, said: "These figures are shocking and it's unacceptable that so many children are at risk of going hungry in our community and the Tories must take responsibility for this situation.
"Child poverty is at a seven-year high due to their ideologically motivated austerity agenda, and wages are falling, leaving working families worse off.
"Every child deserves to be well fed every day, and Labour will introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 an hour to ensure that every family can make ends meet."
An answer to a written question tabled by MP Angela Rayner, in her role as Shadow Secretary for Education, shows that the Department for Education "has made no assessment of the number of children who are at risk of experiencing hunger during school summer holidays in 2017."
Samantha Stapley, operations manager for England at The Trussell Trust, said: "Over a third of all the food distributed by foodbanks in our network consistently goes to children, but these new figures show five to 11-year-olds are more likely than other children to receive a foodbank's help. This highlights just how close to crisis many families are living. Checking which food your local foodbank is running low on and donating to make sure emergency food is available when people are referred to help is a simple and effective way to get involved.
"We also must address reasons why families with children are referred to foodbanks. We welcome the Government's decision to maintain free school lunches for children during term time - the next step must be to help families in the holidays."