A NORTH-East MP has called for the Government to put a holiday hunger programme in place to ensure children do not go hungry.

Durham city MP Roberta Blackman-Woods is working with local authorities in the North-East to combat the issue of holiday hunger, and has raised concerns that more children will go hungry as family budgets are stretched.

Saying it was “unacceptable” that so many children are at risk of going hungry, she called on local authorities to share best practise throughout the North-East and added that the Government should put a fully funded scheme in place.

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More than 71,500 children in the North East and 13,656 in County Durham will not receive the free school meal they are eligible for during term time.

Dr Blackman-Woods said: “I think it is totally unacceptable that so many children are at risk of going hungry over the summer holidays in our communities, and I have campaigned on this serious issue for many years now.

“Child poverty is at a seven year high, and wages are falling, meaning that families are worse off.

“Every child deserves to be well fed every day, and I will be pressing the local authorities and the Government to ensure a fully funded scheme in put in place in the future to ensure that no child goes hungry over the summer holidays.”