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29 July, 2020 Open access

National Food Strategy urgently recommends that government should extend free school meals to all children whose parent or guardian is in receipt of universal credit

A government that is serious about 'levelling up' must ensure that all children get the nutrition they need, says strategy's independent lead

The National Food Strategy has urgently recommended that the government should extend free school meals to all children whose parent or guardian is in receipt of universal credit.

In Part One of a two-part National Food Strategy - that contains recommendations to support the country through the turbulence caused by COVID-19, and to prepare for the end of the EU exit transition period on 31 December 2020 - the independent lead for the project Henry Dimbleby highlights that one of the legacies of the coronavirus pandemic has been a dramatic increase in unemployment and poverty, and therefore hunger, and that the effects of hunger on young bodies and minds are serious, long-lasting, and likey to exacerbate social inequalities.

As a result, calling on the government to move quickly to shore up the diets of the most deprived children, key recommendations of Part One of the Strategy include - 

Introducing the recommendations, Mr Dimbleby says - 

'In the post-lockdown recession, many more families will struggle to feed themselves adequately. A Government that is serious about 'levelling up' must ensure that all children get the nutrition they need.'

NB - as most governance of food and health falls under the aegis of the devolved administrations, the remit of the National Food Strategy is to develop a strategy for England.

Part One of the National Food Strategy is available from nationalfoodstrategy.org