ALL NEWS

UK doctors demand free meals for kids as COVID fuels hunger

Oct 25, 2020, 9:37 AM

UK doctors demand free meals for kids as COVID fuels hunger...

A view of a lunch box at the Pudding Pantry which they will be providing free, during half term for any child in need, who would normally get a free school lunch, after MPs voted to reject a motion to provide food to those in need during the school holidays, in Nottingham, England, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse course and provide free meals for poor children during school holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more families into poverty. (Tim Goode/PA via AP)

(Tim Goode/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse course and provide free meals for poor children during school holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more families into poverty.

Some 2,200 members of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health have written an open letter to Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying they were shocked by his “refusal” to back down on the issue. The House of Commons last week rejected legislation that would have provided free meals during all school holidays from October through the Easter break.

The doctors say some 4 million children live in poverty, and a third rely on free school meals. Many parents in Britain have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours during the pandemic, making it imperative to make it possible for poor children over the holidays get at least one nutritious meal a day, the doctors argue.

“Families who were previously managing are now struggling to make ends meet because of the impact of COVID-19,” the doctors wrote. “It is not good enough to send them into the holiday period hoping for the best, while knowing that many will simply go hungry.”

Most schools in England begin a one-week holiday on Monday.

The doctors heaped praise on Marcus Rashford, a 22-year-old star soccer player for Manchester United who has used his celebrity to highlight the issue. Rashford’s campaign helped pressure Johnson’s government into providing free meals during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, and he has gathered more than 800,000 signatures on a petition to extend the program.

Rashford has spoken movingly about depending on free school lunches as a child and was recently honored by the queen for his dedication to the issue of child hunger.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, who spoke for the government on Britain’s Sunday morning news programs, claimed that lawmakers were taking a broader approach. He said the government has increased welfare benefits nationwide and has provided 63 million pounds ($82 million) to local communities to help people.

“What we are looking to do is ensure that we deal with child poverty at the core, putting the structure in place that means even in school holidays, children can get access to the food that they need,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

The opposition Labour Party has warned it will bring the issue back to the House of Commons if ministers do not change course in time for Christmas.

Advocates for children have been shocked by the political stalemate. The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said she has been both horrified and disappointed by the debate.

“We’re a wealthy country, it’s 2020,” she told Sky News. “To have a debate about whether we should make sure that hungry and vulnerable children have enough to eat is something that is strikingly similar to something we’d expect to see in chapters of ‘Oliver Twist’ — a novel published in the 19th century.”

___
Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Snowy weather on Northern Utah roads....

Derrick Jones

Live updates on Utah’s snowy roads

SALT LAKE CITY — The Wasatch Front is getting hammered by winds, snow and low visibility Saturday. With snowy conditions, come snowy roads.Check here for updates on road conditions. The National Weather Service has posted on X that snow is all across northern Utah. 4 pm Radar Update – Widespread Snowfall is encompassing northern Utah […]

30 minutes ago

Dusk on the last day of the 2024 legislative session at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Frida...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

The Utah 2024 Legislative Session is over. Here’s what lawmakers did

Utah lawmakers made the most out of the 2024 general legislative session, passing 591 bills, surpassing last year's previous high of 575.

2 hours ago

Tumbleweeds surround an Eagle Mountain home on March 2, 2024. (Photo credit: Brennen Katsos)...

Josh Ellis

High winds hit Wasatch Front as storm moves in

Winds will continue to increase over western Utah valleys Saturday ahead of a front and spread into southern Utah.

3 hours ago

A lone camper truck moves north bound on the I-80 at the Donner Pass Exit on Friday, March 1, 2024,...

SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press

Blizzard ‘as bad as it gets’ hits California, Nevada. Strip of I-80 shut down

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning through Sunday for a 300-mile stretch of the mountain range.

3 hours ago

Five pine trees were taken down by the wind in front of Denise Cable's house on March 2, 2024....

Kennedy Camarena and Emma Keddington

Winter weather on the move in Utah: What to expect Saturday

Throughout the weekend on March 2 and 3, wind and winter weather will be kicking up a major storm. This is where you can stay updated on the storm.

6 hours ago

ksl movie show review host steve salles next to outlaw posse poster...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Outlaw Posse’ goes off the rails, loses storyline

In this KSL Movie Show review, we travel back in time to the wacky western world of "Outlaw Posse."

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

UK doctors demand free meals for kids as COVID fuels hunger