The value of the Healthy Start voucher scheme for families should be increased to keep pace with the rising cost of food.
Responding to a School And Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA) report that found a deterioration in children’s health due to a rise in the cost of food, Cllr David Baines, Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“These findings are deeply concerning and show that a rise in the cost of living is having harmful effects on children’s health.
“Food inflation is at its highest for almost half a century and this is hitting the poorest households hardest. The near-£500 annual saving for a family for each child on free school meals can make all the difference, now more so than ever before.
“While it is good that the Government is investing over £1 billion in support for Free School Meals, it can go further to tackle this issue and extend eligibility for Free School Meals to ensure all children in poverty are entitled to at least one hot meal per day, including a review of the current income threshold of £7,400 per year.
“As well as this, the value of the Healthy Start voucher scheme for families should be increased to keep pace with the rising cost of food. This will help to ensure that children can lead happy and healthy lives, regardless of their family income.”