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‘Many families are being pushed over the brink into poverty’



A group of GPs have written an open letter to the Government on its decision to refuse to provide free meals to children in poverty over the Christmas holidays

As frontline GPs we are very aware of the effects of deprivation, poverty and malnutrition in both physical and mental health, and also that adverse life experiences in childhood including malnutrition are significant risk factors for development of chronic disease in later life.

We are aware that many families, just about managing previously, are being pushed over the brink into poverty by the effects of the current pandemic on work and income.

We are very concerned by the refusal of Government to heed the calls from Marcus Rashford MBE, the RCPCH and many others with real knowledge of the situation to provide meals for those entitled to free school meals over the Christmas holiday period.

We are also deeply concerned by the unworthy smear attempts by certain MPs to label those in receipt of benefits and social support as feckless drug addicts, and to suggest that they would use any food vouchers to purchase drugs; this is not at all our experience as frontline GPs.

We are saddened by the decision of so many MPs, particularly those allegedly representing constituents in deprived areas of England, to reject and vote against the Labour amendment last week, and we call on the Government to think again and release the relatively small amount of funds necessary to ensure that no child in England goes hungry this Christmas.

Dr Alan Woodall

Dr Andrew Parkin

Dr Scott Queen

Dr Tahlil Rashid

+ more than 100 other GPs

READERS' COMMENTS [4]

Slobbering Spaniel 31 October, 2020 9:20 am

Is it the responsibility of the government to feed children? Since when has this been the case? How many have expensive mobile phones and sky tv with a huge flatscreen to watch it on?
There you are everyone, I’ve started the debate!

Dave Haddock 2 November, 2020 12:54 pm

Inner city practice; we see lots of overfed children, under-exercised children, under-stimulated and under-occupied children; but not malnutrition.

Patrufini Duffy 2 November, 2020 5:42 pm

Not sure about ‘poverty’. Have these GPs actually travelled? I’ve seen some ‘poor’ people in Lidl and Aldi ahead of me. And they have a trolley 5 times as full. With toys and blow up bouncy castles and spare vouchers. Maybe I should feel “poor”. The UK delivers free prescriptions and free healthcare, some form of roof (without Netflix), no overhead missiles (currently) or rampaging communicable diseases, clean water and cheap produce. That is not poverty.

Christopher Ho 3 November, 2020 9:43 am

And guess what, without the government’s help, private companies like McDonald’s have stepped up, and other charities. Proof that social virtue and altruism exists. Not that I needed any. Puts paid to the socialist idea that we have to tax/compel the rich to redistribute.

Of course, I always thought it was parental responsibility to feed one’s children, but maybe I’m old fashioned…