It is both shocking and unacceptable that in 2019, and in one of the world’s wealthiest economies, children are going hungry during the summer school holidays.
Yet that is the reality, as schools in Yorkshire remain open during the six-week break to ensure that children from low-income households can rely on getting at least one proper meal a day.
It is too easily overlooked that free school meals provided during term-time are vital to some of the poorest households, which simply cannot meet the cost of additional food during holidays.
In Yorkshire, more than 140,000 children are potentially going hungry, or their families relying on food banks to put something on the table that could be reasonably said to amount to a nutritious meal.
The Government must take heed of this shameful state of affairs and act. Food poverty is one of the greatest evils besetting modern society, and its growing prevalence is illustrated by the 16 per cent increase in emergency parcels handed out to children in our county last summer. We must never forget that these young people are amongst Britain’s most vulnerable.
Austerity and cuts to services cannot be allowed to leave children hungry and families reliant on schools with already over-stretched budgets, or the compassion of community organisations or churches which are also helping.
This is also an issue for every decent man and woman in Yorkshire. It is surely a matter of personal pride, and that of our county, to take responsibility as a community and do everything possible to help any child that is suffering.