Councillor Phil Bateman said today – “I just wonder if everyone in Wolverhampton is receiving all that they are entitled too?. This article in the Guardian throws doubt on the knowledge that this type of help is available. I will be asking the City Council if they have any evidence that the information is getting out to those that the scheme was designed for, and would benefit from the scheme.”
Data obtained by Frank Field MP shows that a third of low-income families are missing out on Government-funded free fruit, vegetables and milk.
Out of 402,384 people on low incomes in England who are eligible to receive Healthy Start vouchers, 135,671 (33.7%) are not registered to do so.
Prof Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the lack of uptake could be linked to not knowing the vouchers exist, the system’s complexity, and the stigma of exchanging them for food.
Take up in England is lowest in Windsor and Maidenhead, at just 47%. Other areas with low levels of take-up include Wokingham and Buckinghamshire, where take-up is 52%. Hartlepool has the highest take-up rate, at 84%, followed by Newcastle and Halton, Cheshire (82%).