Ruth Smeeth has put child food poverty back on the agenda after her Holiday Hunger campaign was taken up by the Labour Party as a national campaign focus.
Two years ago, Ruth gave the first speech in the House of Commons on the issue of Holiday Hunger and asked what happens to children who are eligible for free school meals during the summer holidays.
She revealed that six out of ten parents with household incomes of less than £25,000 have said they weren’t always able to buy food out of term times, and a third of parents have skipped a meal so that their children could eat during the school holidays.
Since then Ruth Smeeth has run a national Holiday Hunger campaign alongside the GMB union and in 2016 she narrowly failed to get the issue discussed on the floor of Labour Party Conference.
She has also worked with local businesses and charities to create the first comprehensive Holiday Hunger pilot project – which will serve 10,000 meals this summer in her constituency.
Now the Labour Party are following suit with a national campaign to highlight the impact of Holiday Hunger.
Ruth said she was delighted that Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, has recognised the importance of the issue.
Ruth said: “This campaign was the first issue I raised as a new Member of Parliament and it is an issue that’s incredibly close to my heart.
“In my own constituency of Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove 31% of children are living in poverty. I’ve heard tragic stories from teachers about children coming back to school in September malnourished. This is simply heartbreaking.”
I’ve worked with an incredible group of people to get this issue on the agenda and I’m absolutely delighted that Holiday Hunger is finally being recognised as a major issue.”
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