Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Cross-party group of MPs and Peers launches inquiry into hunger amongst children during the school holidays

21 February 2017
Food bank

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger today launches a short inquiry into the extent of hunger amongst children during the school holidays, as well as the impact it has on their life chances.

Food banks have reported to the Group that the need for their help tends to grow once the school holidays arrive. Moreover, the Group has become aware of some children who usually receive free school meals during term time, arriving back at school in a worse mental and physical condition from having gone several days without a proper meal during the holidays.

The Group will gather oral and written evidence over the next six weeks to try and gain a deeper understanding of the scale of the problem, its impact on children’s mental, physical, and academic development, as well as proposals for responding most effectively to it.

The Group’s Chair, Frank Field MP, said: ‘Holidays for most children are a time to look forward to family outings and adventures with their mates. Clearly for some children, though, the overriding priority during the school holidays is to find out where their next meal is coming from, or how they will be able to afford more than a fizzy drink and a packet of sweets each day.

‘In some parts of the country, schools and volunteers have already leapt to the defence of those children, by providing free meals and fun activities throughout the holidays. We are now on the lookout for national solutions that can be driven by local communities – with support from the Government, businesses and charities – to ensure no child goes hungry in the holidays.’

The terms of reference for the inquiry are:

1. To understand the extent and geographical spread of hunger amongst children during school holidays.

2. To investigate the underlying causes of hunger amongst children during school holidays.

3. To identify the circumstances behind hunger amongst children during school holidays.

4. To understand the extent, cost, nature and organisation of school holiday meal schemes in this country.

5. To discover the food choices and other forms of support available to children and families helped by school holiday meal schemes.

6. To investigate the source of school holiday meal schemes’ food.

7. To consider the effectiveness of school holiday meal schemes in meeting immediate and long-term needs, and the possibility of these schemes becoming permanent features of children and young people’s services.

8. To consider the long-term effects of school holiday meal schemes on children’s health, physical development, and educational achievement.

9. To consider approaches to improving children’s food intake and physical and mental development during the school holidays.

10. To make recommendations.

To submit written evidence to the inquiry, please email, or write to Frank Field MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger’s officers who will be conducting the inquiry are: Heidi Allen MP (Conservative), Steve Double MP (Conservative), Frank Field MP (Labour), Baroness Jenkin (Conservative), Emma Lewell-Buck MP (Labour), The Rt Revd Tim Thornton (Bishop of Truro), and Dr Philippa Whitford MP (Scottish National Party)


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