Christian MPs join more than a hundred backing holiday hunger bill

More than 100 MPs have backed a bill to tackle hunger and malnutrition during the school holidays when free school meals are not available.

Introduced by veteran Labour MP Frank Field and signed by dozens of fellow Labour MPs, the bill would ring-fence 10 per cent of the money raised by a sugary drinks tax and force councils to provide food and activities for children who would otherwise go without.

Reuters/Michael Crabtree/Files

The School Holidays (Meals and Activities) Bill has won support from MPs across the Commons and will be presented to MP on their first day back from summer recess.

It is also signed by several Christian MPs including second church estates commissioner Dame Caroline Spelman and several other senior Conservatives including committed Christian Nicky Morgan, Sir Oliver Letwin and Jeremy Lefroy.

It comes after the all party group on hunger, chaired by Frank Field, unearthed fresh evidence of the number of children suffering from a lack of food in holiday.

Field said: 'If the Prime Minister were to pick up this bill and run with it, at nil extra cost to the Government, she would tackle overnight one of the great injustices afflicting children in this country: a widening of inequalities at school caused by a lack of food during the holidays. Likewise she would immediately be cutting off one of the main supply routes to food banks.'

It comes after Trussell Trust figures published last month showed the increased use of foodbanks during summer months with 4,412 more three-day food parcels given out nationally in July and August than the previous two months.

Earlier this month Christian Today revealed how churches are stepping in to fill the gap.

Heather Black, a development worker in Middlesborough, told Christian Today of the 'unimaginable increase in referrals' to the foodbank in the summer holidays.

'You have got to feed the children and they need entertaining so it's a double whammy really.

'We just thought, "What kind of response should there be as churches?"'

The result is 'Feast of Fun' clubs which provide activities including arts, crafts sports, games and music based around themes as well as all serving food.

'Its growing a sense of community and family,' she said.

'As well as addressing very real physical needs we are building stronger community. I think that's the real qualitative care that the church can offer. It's creating a place with a feel of a family gathering.'