I recently coordinated a cross party letter with Robert Halfon MP which gathered almost 100 signatures across both Houses in support of my School Breakfast Bill.
As a result of the reduced parliamentary calendar during lockdown, my Bill has been indefinitely postponed. However, with child food insecurity rising and the educational attainment gap growing, there is now an urgency for this Bill.
I am deeply concerned that the Government’s National School Breakfast Programme reaches just 7% of the schools meeting the government’s own eligibility criteria and that funding will end altogether in July 2021. This will leave thousands of children without access to the free school breakfast they have come to rely on.
The proposed School Breakfast Bill would address this issue. The Bill proposed scaling up school breakfast funding to all the 8,700 schools with high levels of disadvantage in England. The Bill also proposed making support to schools permanent at a cost of just over £300m annually. This could be funded by the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) which continues to raise approximately £340m each year. In addition to this, research from Sustain has found more than £700m raised from the Levy since 2018 is unaccounted for. The unspent SDIL revenue can be allocated towards scaling up school breakfast provision.
I really hope the Government accepts our proposals in the School Breakfast Bill so that every child at risk of hunger can have a free, nutritious school breakfast and be ready to start their day of learning.