Food bank
A reported 4.2 million children in the UK are living below the poverty line. AFP News/Ben STANSALL

The UK Government have been criticised for making reckless decisions that have led to a huge 4.2 million children in the UK living below the poverty line.

Recent findings also declare that between the years 2021 and 2022, half a million children fell into the poverty bracket in the UK.

On 5 September, it was announced that the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged £135 million in funds to provide up to 287,000 primary school children in London with free school meals.

The emergency funding has been granted by the City Hall, assisting every borough of the capital with conquering the current cost-of-living crisis.

It has also been noted that the donation could save families more than £440 per child.

While announcing the pledge, Mr Khan, who received means-tested free school meals as a child, revealed that around 32 per cent of parents and guardians of children between the ages of five and 11 in the UK say that they are "financially struggling".

In other regions of England, children in state primary schools are able to receive free school meals if they are in reception, year one or year two – regardless of the household income.

To spread awareness of the increasing rate of food insecurity in the UK, the Right To Food campaign has arranged three protests in London, Liverpool and Belfast tomorrow (Saturday 23 September).

The marches will also be part of Right to Food Week, which runs from 18 September to 23 September each year.

Sadiq Khan has pledged £135 million to provide up to 287,000 primary school children in London with free school meals.

Right To Food is led by Labour MP Ian Byrne, who wrote on social media: "Access to food is a human right, yet more than 11 million people in the UK are going hungry."

Mr Byrne, who launched the Right To Food campaign more than two years ago, told reporters: "I wake up at night, fearful about what's going to happen to 55,000 people in my constituency and across the country."

The Labour MP also added that before the cost-of-living crisis hit the UK, many families were already in an "untenable" predicament due to food prices increasing by an average of 14.9 per cent in the last three years.

Around 2.1 million people in the UK currently live in a household using a food bank.

Trussell Trust, a charitable and non-governmental organisation that works to abolish the need for food banks in the UK, revealed that between 2022 and 2023, it delivered a staggering 2.99 million three-day emergency food parcels.

In 2022, the Right To Food sent an open letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

According to the Labour MP, the letter, which recognised the intense increase in food insecurity in the UK, noted: "Where we are now, the situation millions are finding themselves in – you've got to do something radical. You cannot be tinkering around the edges."

While noting that the movement is not about "Labour on Tories", Mr Byrne said: "I went to a meeting with the minister the other month, and I said I'm not here on a sectarian mission, I'm here on a humanitarian mission – to tell you what's happening in communities like mine across the country and for yous."

"Either they don't care or they're that far up their own arses in their ivory bubble of Westminster," he added.

The London march will commence at 12 p.m. outside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, finishing at the Community Festival of Resistance in Tottenham Green.

The protest in Liverpool will also commence at midday, outside St Georges Hall. The group then plan to walk to a campaign rally at 1 p.m.

In Belfast, the campaign will set off from Belfast City Hall at 1 p.m.