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Four Million British Kids in 'Food Poverty,' Says NGO Amid Inflation Crisis

© AFP 2023 / ARTHUR EDWARDS / Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (2-L) serves up school dinners as British TV Chef and food education advocate Jamie Oliver (3-L)Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (2-L) serves up school dinners as British TV Chef and food education advocate Jamie Oliver (3-L)
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (2-L) serves up school dinners as British TV Chef and food education advocate Jamie Oliver (3-L) - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2023
The inflation crisis caused by sanctions on energy and food imports from Russia has seen the price of many staple foods rise by around 50 percent. Food bank charities say they are struggling to meet increased demand.
A British NGO has warned that as many as four million children are now in food poverty amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
The survey on behalf of the Food Foundation, an NGO which promotes healthy eating, found that 22 percent households said they had skipped meals or even fasted for a whole day in January this year, an increase on the 12 percent reporting the same at the start of last year.
Food poverty in the UK is defined as when households cannot afford food. In such families, parents often eat less or skip meals so children do not go hungry.
The NGO called on the government to extend the provision of free school meals to low-income and vulnerable families to cover more kids.
"By extending free school meals to more children in England in the next budget, the government could deliver a policy change that is popular with voters, targeted and timely, and truly delivers on levelling up," said Food Foundation chief executive Anna Taylor, referring to the Conservative policy of economic renewal of neglected regions.
The UK is suffering the worst inflation crunch since the 1970s thanks to sanctions and embargoes on Russian fuel and food imports, with the price petrol, diesel of some staple foods rising by around half.
Many children from low-income households lost access to free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools were closed to most pupils. That prompted a campaign, supported by England footballer Marcus Rashford, for families to get supermarket vouchers in compensation.
More and more people are using food bank charities, first set up following the 2008 'Credit Crunch' financial crisis, with supermarket chains donating stock to them.
A British Gas bill is displayed by a gas ring on a cooker in this photo illustration in London, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. British Gas has reported annual profits of 571m, up from 95m in 2006.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.10.2022
7 Million UK Households on 'Cliff Edge' of Fuel Poverty
The opposition Labour Party has promised school 'breakfast club' places for all children if it takes power following the next general election.
But the Department for Education said the number of children eating free school meals had also doubled over the past decade.
"Since 2010 the number of children receiving a free meal at school has increased by more than 2 million, increasing the number of pupils who benefit from free school meals in education settings from just one in six, to over one third," a spokesperson said. "On top of this, we have made a further investment in the national school breakfast programme to extend the programme for another year, backed by up to £30m."
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