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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


End Holiday Hunger!

by Theo Russell

MEMBERS of Camden Unite Community joined protests across Britain last Friday by blocking the street outside Caxton House in Westminster, London, home of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), against the hated Universal Credit benefit system.

Large protests also took place in Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere, focusing on the issue of ‘holiday hunger’ affecting thousands of children and their families who rely on free school meals.

According to Unite, the loss of free school meals adds £30—£40 for parents, and a Unite survey found that 19 per cent struggle make ends meet during the school holidays.

Nearly 70 per cent of parents said they were skipping meals and 41 per cent said they were relying on foodbanks.

In the central London boroughs covered by Camden Unite Community, Camden, Westminster, and Kensington & Chelsea, 12,750 children are eligible for free school meals.

Camden Unite Community also protested earlier outside Euston Food Bank, yards from Euston Station, and after the DWP action moved around the corner to the plush offices currently housing the Tory party’s head office.

Unite Community North West regional co-ordinator Sheila Coleman said: “It is shameful that on a sunny summer’s day, children, instead of having days at the seaside, are spending their holidays being fed by charity.

“Foodbanks, community centres and schools are helping to keep poor children alive. This is in 21st-century Britain, one of the richest countries.”

She said that the problem was not the north—south divide, but class division and the “few haves and the many have-nots”.

Paula Peters, Unite Community chairwoman for Bromley and Croydon, said that Universal Credit was “ideologically designed to cause mass stress and harm, and to ramp up poverty and hunger. There are 8.4 million people who are struggling to feed themselves and four million in poverty, including many disabled people”.

The fight against Universal Credit, which according to a United Nations report appears to be designed to punish people for no reason, must go on until it is scrapped, and Unite Community is mobilising thousands of people who are not working or retired in communities across Britain to join this fight.