Pediatricians are urging the British government to reverse class lesson and supply free meals for naughty children all the way through 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 final week rejected legislation that would have given free meals all the way through 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 missing their jobs or are working reduced hours all the way through the pandemic, making it vital to make it imaginable for naughty children over the holidays get a minimum of one nutritious meal a day, the doctors argue.
“Families who were in the past managing are now struggling to make ends meet on account of the have an effect on of Covid-19,” the doctors wrote. “It isn’t good enough to send them into the holiday period hoping for the most efficient, while knowing that many will simply go hungry.” Most schools in England begin a one-week holiday on Monday.
The doctors heaped compliment on Marcus Rashford, a 22-year-old star soccer player for Manchester United who has used his celebrity to spotlight the issue. Rashford’s crusade helped pressure Johnson’s government into providing free meals all the way through a nationwide coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, and he has gathered more than 800,000 signatures on a petition to extend the programme.
Rashford has spoken movingly approximately depending on free school lunches as a child and used to be recently honoured by the queen for his dedication to the issue of child starvation.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, who spoke for the government on Britain’s Sunday morning news programmes, claimed that lawmakers were taking a broader approach. He said the government has increased welfare benefits nationwide and has given 63 million pounds ($82 million) to native communities to help people.
“What we wish to do is be sure that we handle child poverty at the core, putting the constitution 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’ll bring the issue back to the House of Commons whether ministers do not change class lesson 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 approximately if we will have to make certain that hungry and vulnerable children have enough to eat is something that is strikingly very similar to something we’d expect to see in chapters of ‘Oliver Twist’ — a novel published in the 19th century.”
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)
Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter