Skip to main content

Food Poverty: Children

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 82107, tabled on 25 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what fiscal steps she is taking to reduce child food poverty.

Answered on

2 December 2021

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

As our recovery gathers pace and with record vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support parents into, and to progress in, work. This is because we know that work, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty and improves long-term outcomes for families and children.

Given clear evidence that parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, substantially reduces the risks of child poverty, we are focusing on supporting employment. With record vacancies in the economy, there are opportunities available across the UK and our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, is helping people to access them.

Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials.

To support low income families further we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are also investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all English LAs.