UNICEF to feed hungry children in the UK for the first time in its history
UNICEF is to provide aid to hungry children in the UK for the first time in its history
The UN agency, better known for its work supporting children in more deprived areas of the world, is stepping in to help feed impoverished children affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
UNICEF has pledged £25,000 to the charity School Food Matters, which will help to provide breakfast boxes to thousands of children and families in the London borough of Southwark over the Christmas holidays, Sky News reports.
Each box will contain food for 10 breakfasts over the break.
Speaking to LBC, Director of Programmes at Unicef UK Anna Kettley said: "We know that the coronavirus pandemic is the most urgent crisis affecting children since the Second World War and it is ending childrens’ lives everywhere, including right here at home.
"We know that before the pandemic 2.4 million children across the UK were already growing up in food insecure households and that since the lockdown period and the ongoing crisis, 32 percent of households have experienced a drop of income.
"Some families are having to make some really difficult decisions right now between heating and eating."
The news of UNICEF's intervention has prompted harsh criticism of the government.
Deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner branded it a "disgrace", tweeting that prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak should be "ashamed".
Labour MP Richard Burgon tweeted: "Britain is one of the world's richest nations.
"UNICEF, for the first time ever, is now delivering emergency food to children here. Poverty is a political choice.
"The Gov't could end UK child poverty by making the super-rich pay fair taxes. It refuses to."
Child food poverty in the UK became a prominent issue after Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford launched a campaign to help feed hungry children in Britain, eventually forcing a government U-turn on free school meals over the summer holidays.