A report by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on hunger and food poverty is calling for the skills to be made a statutory requirement of personal, social and health education (PSHE) in a bid to equip all young people with the ability to prepare meals on a budget.
To see the full report see here.
The Feeding Britain report warns that families on low incomes are most at risk of experiencing hunger if they are unable to prepare meals from scratch and rely on ready meals or takeaways instead stating that “As well as lacking resources, a proportion of families also lack the resilience to cope with life on a low income. They may have difficulties budgeting for a week’s worth of shopping, for example, as whatever income there might be is devoted to other, non-essential items of expenditure or to paying off debt.”
Evidence submitted to the inquiry shows that primary-aged children are going to school hungry because their parents could not, or would not, make them breakfast.
As a result, the APPG is calling on schools to refer such families to their local Troubled Families project for intensive parenting and budgeting support.
It also wants the government to prioritise children from poorer families in any future expansion of the free school meals programme, which currently provides hot meals to infants.
The report warns that delays in benefit payments and rising utility costs are also causing families to go hungry and contributing to an increased use of food banks.
To tackle the immediate issue, MPs have suggested that a pilot by the Trussell Trust, which co-locates debt and benefits advice with food banks, be extended across the charity’s network and be adopted, where possible, by other food bank providers.