Tories told UNICEF decision to intervene in food poverty in UK 'shames our nation'

Customers leave a supermarket after food shopping. (Rui Vieira/PA)

Customers leave a supermarket after food shopping. (Rui Vieira/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The British government has been called a "disgrace" after UNICEF was forced to intervene in the country's food crisis for the first time ever.

The UN agency said Covid-19 had left British youngsters facing the biggest crisis since the Second World War and donated £25,000 to a charity feeding Britain's hungry children.

Since the first national lockdown in March, the number of families struggling to make ends meet and access food has grown, as the economy has suffered and vital jobs been lost.

In May, a YouGov poll commissioned by the charity Food Foundation found that 2.4 million children (17%) were living in food-insecure households. And by October it said an extra 900,000 children had been registered for free school meals.

UNICEF will grant £25,000 to the charity School Food Matters, which will use the money to supply thousands of breakfast boxes to over the two-week Christmas break in London.

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This comes after England footballer Marcus Rashford and Labour pressured the government to provide food vouchers to underprivileged children over the summer holidays.

The government has also given £29 million of taxpayers' cash towards the so-called "Festival of Brexit" set to take place in 2022 and granted the prime minister's former senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, a £40,000 pay rise shortly before he left Downing Street.

MORE: PMQs: Keir Starmer chides Boris Johnson over Dominic Cummings' £40,000 pay rise

MORE: No 10 spends £2.7m of taxpayers' cash paying out sacked advisers

News of the story led to the "#ToryBritain" Twitter trend and thousands of responses as it was pointed out the government were failing to 'level up' as it promised at the last election.

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The Green's Westminster MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: "UK is world’s sixth-largest economy - yet it’s come to this. What an indictment of 10 years of Tory rule."

MORE: Minister defends giving Dominic Cummings a £40k pay rise claiming he was 'politically impartial'

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner called it a "disgrace" and said Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak should feel "ashamed of yourselves", adding: "The government has handed £1.3bn in contracts to their mates and we are one of the richest countries in the world. Our children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters."

@Postgradlloyd posted: "Shame of our nation. Whilst the housing market surges we have unprecedented food insecurity. This isn't levelling up."

One user, by the name @KatyJayne101, wrote: "Imagine living in the 6th wealthiest nation on earth and having to rely on UNICEF to step in to feed starving children. Welcome to Tory Britain 2020."

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