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17 July 2015, 10:09
A third of parents on lower incomes have skipped meals during the school holidays to ensure their children eat, a survey suggests.
More than six out of 10 parents (62%) on incomes of less than £25,000 cannot always afford food outside of term time and 31% have skipped a meal so that their children can eat, a report commissioned by Kellogg's found.
The food company's report, Isolation And Hunger: The Impact Of The School Holidays On Struggling Families, which it delivered to MPs today, found 73% of parents with incomes of less than £15,000 could not always afford food during the holidays and 41% in this group had skipped meals in favour of their children.
It found school holidays were especially difficult for low-income families whose children usually received free school meals or support from breakfast clubs.
More than four out of 10 (41%) said they sometimes felt isolated during the holidays due to being unable to afford to go out and entertain their children and 46% said they stayed in the house more often than in term time.
Some 14% said they had served slightly smaller meals to their family to keep costs down, and 3% said the entire family had to skip a meal on at least one occasion.
Almost four in 10 (38%) said they had bought cheaper food and a quarter (24%) prioritised food over paying a household bill.
Kellogg's director Paul Wheeler said: "This summer there'll be tens of thousands of parents going without meals so they can feed their kids.
"We are trying to help these parents by funding free holiday breakfast clubs across the UK. Those already open have proven to be a great success.
"That's why we've invited politicians from all political parties to visit the clubs this summer to draw attention to this issue and demonstrate that there is help available.''
Lindsay Graham, of the Holiday Hunger Task Group and a school food adviser, said: "We do not yet know the full scale of holiday hunger in the UK, but there are around 1.7 million children who are eligible for free school meals who could go without that valuable daily meal this summer.
"School holiday periods are an incredibly difficult time for parents on low incomes as limited household budgets are squeezed.
"Holiday meal programmes that provide a safe environment and fun activities need to be recognised and supported by government policy. No child should be hungry at any time in this country.''