"I remember at six years old telling my mum I was hungry, she could do nothing"

21 October 2020, 15:21 | Updated: 21 October 2020, 18:31

By Fiona Jones

This caller told his moving story of going hungry as a young boy as pressure mounts on the Government to extend free school meals in England.

MPs are set to vote on a cross-party parliamentary bill which will fund free meals for children throughout school holidays.

At least 65 MPs are backing the bill, including the Conservative chair of the education select committee, Robert Halfon.

Caller James from Nottingham told Shelagh he is a child of the seventies and his mother was a single parent who did jobs in cleaning to gather money for the family.

"I remember at six years old saying to my mum I'm hungry and I'll never forget the look in her eyes, it haunts me to this day...there was nothing she could have done," he said, "I cannot believe in the year 2020 that there are children going hungry."

He branded the fact children are going hungry "under the Government" as a "disgrace."

"I would pay more to make sure these kids don't go hungry," he said, "all the millions that are wasted by Boris Johnson on track and trace...that should have been given to our children. I don't want another child to go through what I've gone through."

James totally agreed with Shelagh's comments that it is not only the physical pain of going hungry but the emotional pain.

"I'll take it to my grave, that look, I'll never forget it. And when you were talking about it, it came back to me, the total helplessness in her eyes. There's nothing she could have done, she had no money," James said.

He said that "we shouldn't be having food banks... we should be able to take care of our young people.

"Why do we have food banks? As far as I'm aware this isn't a political party thing, this is society saying this is unacceptable."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took to Twitter to voice support for the school breakfast bill: "Today, Conservative MPs can do the right thing and vote to extend free school meals over half term and the Christmas holiday."