Home Business News Half a million free meals helping families this half-term as Mayor issues stark cost-of-living warning to MPs

Half a million free meals helping families this half-term as Mayor issues stark cost-of-living warning to MPs

by LLB political Reporter
26th Oct 23 6:09 am

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned of the severe pressures facing Londoners this winter as he urged Government to urgently step forward and do more to tackle the growing cost-of-living crisis.

Around half a million free meals are being delivered to Londoners this October half-term thanks to funding from the Mayor, but the latest shocking stats highlight the strain that Londoners are already facing ahead of the winter with charities facing ‘unprecedented need’.

The cost-of-living crisis is hitting Londoners disproportionately, with the latest City Hall polling showing that 45 per cent of Londoners with a total household income of lower than £20,000 and 50 per cent of disabled Londoners are already using less water, energy or fuel to help them manage living costs.

New polling also shows:

  • One in five Londoners say they are ‘financially struggling’ (21 per cent), but this rises to more than one in three (39 per cent) for Londoners who have a total household income lower than £20,000, social renters (37 per cent) and Black Londoners (36 per cent), with one in three disabled Londoners (33 per cent) financially struggling.
  • Of those Londoners who are financially struggling, more than one in four (29 per cent) are going without essentials and more than two-thirds (67 per cent) are buying less food and essentials.

This comes as research from The Felix Project has shown that one in four working parents in London have skipped meals or not bought food for themselves to ensure their children can eat, while the Trussell Trust has forecast that more than 600,000 people in the UK will depend on food bank support from December until February next year.

In April the Mayor stepped forward with a £3.5m emergency free holiday meals programme to provide around 10m free meals to hundreds of thousands of Londoners during school holidays and at weekends over 12 months. Half a million meals are expected to be given out this October half-term alone, totalling more than 7m meals since April to help low-income families struggling with the soaring cost of living.

Sadiq’s support has expanded the work of the Mayor’s Fund for London and The Felix Project, and is enabling charities and grassroots organisations to reach hundreds of thousands of struggling families through a variety of programmes at community hubs and centres across London.

During term-time, up to 287,000 primary school children at London’s state primary schools are benefitting from the Mayor’s unprecedented £135m free school meals programme to help Londoners struggling with the cost of living.

Sadiq is also investing £3.46bn into building the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need and £400m on skills and employment programmes to support Londoners to find more secure work. This is in addition to more than £80m to help those struggling with the rising cost of living to tackle fuel poverty, supporting private renters, connecting Londoners to welfare advice and tackling food insecurity.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m hugely concerned about the impact that winter will have on Londoners who are already struggling due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Charities are seeing huge demand on their services with families already worrying about how to both eat and heat their homes.

“I’m proud to be providing half a million free meals this October half-term to lower income families and will continue to do all I can to support Londoners as we build a fairer London all, but we urgently need the Government to do more. We need Ministers to use their powers to ensure children aren’t going hungry and help those in need to get through the winter.”

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