I've backed a bill aimed at ending Holiday Hunger.
The School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill will be presented to Parliament by Birkenhead MP Frank Field today, the first day of Parliament after the summer recess. The Bill has secured the backing of 120 cross-party MPs. It places a legal duty upon local authorities to ensure free meals and fun are provided for children who would otherwise go without during the holidays. Under Mr Field’s proposed bill, the Government would ring-fence £41.5 million – just ten per cent of the money raised by the sugary drinks levy – to help local authorities pay for their provision.
In Wrexham, a scheme helping feed hungry children over the summer holidays has just finished – with more than 2,500 meals prepared by volunteers. I worked to help set up the group some years back alongside the Church in Wales and a group of volunteers, was among those who helped out this year – and am set to join in again when the project runs a similar scheme over the Christmas holidays.
The work that that small group have been doing in Wrexham was one of the first schemes of its kind when set up – and the Wrexham project remains an inspiration for me.
Speaking with other MPs about the issue, it became clear that this issue is one which affects children across the country. That is why I have been pleased to be able to lend my support to Frank’s bill today – and why I hope that the Government will listen to the proposals put forward.
I know that Wrexham’s project will continue to work to help people.
I will continue to work with volunteers here and with fellow MPs in Parliament to do all we can to tackle this issue – both on the ground and by ensuring the Government starts to take action to help.