We shouldn’t have people going hungry in one of the richest countries in the world. But we do and every day thousands of children go to school without breakfast because their parents cannot afford to buy breakfast. The rise of foodbanks is the extreme end of this but a survey by Mumsnet revealed that shockingly 1 in 5 mums regularly skip meals so their children can eat. I have made pushing for action on tackling hunger, one of my priorities as an Assembly Member.
Following an investigation on behalf of the London Assembly, I published Zero Hunger City: Tackling Food Poverty in London. This called on the Mayor to make London a Zero Hunger City and Boris Johnson committed to do so.
In March 2015, to mark the two year anniversary of the launch of my initial report and I followed this up with a video – the Kindness of Strangers – which can be viewed by clicking the image below:
Healthy Free School Meals for All
I am delighted that the Labour Party has now adopted the policy of universal free school meals for all children in state funded primary schools.
The introduction of free school meals for all Infant Schools by the government is an evidence based policy arising from the Labour pilots and Labour councils including Southwark, Islington, Hull, County Durham and Newham that have demonstrated the benefit of the policy. Children don’t stop being hungry at the age of seven and, as a first step, all children in all state funded primary schools should have access to a healthy free school lunch. This is a very practical way to make sure children get a least one healthy meal a day and tackle the long term health implications and costs of poor diet and obesity. As well as improving results, the policy also puts up to £500 per child back in to the pockets of families.
In September 2014, I launched a revised version of a pamphlet co-authored with Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington, making the Labour case for healthy free school meals for all which is downloadable here. Please get in touch if you would like to receive a hard copy.