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Views And Reviews

Child food poverty requires radical long term solutions

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 28 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3608
  1. Rebecca O’Connell, reader in the sociology of food and families,
  2. Julia Brannen, professor of sociology of the family,
  3. Abigail Knight, lecturer in sociology
  1. Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK
  1. j.brannen{at}

The end of the summer holidays will be a respite for children experiencing holiday hunger. But as Rebecca O’Connell and colleagues explain, food poverty is a problem all year round

At the start of this year’s summer holidays, the UK government announced £2m (€2.2m; $2.6m) of funding for free holiday activities and meals for disadvantaged families.1 Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi noted that: “For most pupils, the end of the school summer term signals the start of holidays, days out, and a chance to make memories with friends and family. Other families, who might rely on the support provided by schools, are not so lucky.”

Luck has nothing to do with it. Children are going hungry in “breadline Britain”2—not only during the holidays but all year round—because they are structurally disadvantaged by a shrinking welfare state and a government that refuses to take …

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