Money raised from the tax on sugary drinks should be ploughed into ensuring children don’t go hungry during school holidays, a group of MPs and peers has said.
So-called ‘holiday hunger’ affects up to three million youngsters across the UK because the school break places extra pressure on family budgets and free school meals are not available.
In a strongly worded report about the “major social evil”, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger said the lack of school meals in holiday time can add £40 a week to family food bills. It said school staff notice children coming back for the new term hungry and sluggish.
And it means pupils from poorer families can be left behind their better-off peers academically, the group said.
They urged the government to ring-fence 10 per cent of the sugar tax – to be introduced next year – to ensure children are fed properly during the holidays. This could cost just £1.50 per child per day.
It would mean that councils would each be given £100,000 for schemes providing “free meals and fun”.