ACS welcomes increase in value of Healthy Start Payments

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed an announcement from the Government on plans to increase to the value of Healthy Start payments, as part of a number of measures to safeguard children’s food security.

The Government announced a package of measures designed to alleviate child food poverty, including:

> An increase in Healthy Start payments from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from April 2021
>The introduction of a £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter
> Expansion of the Holiday Activities and Food programme, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021

Healthy Start is a government initiative which provides pregnant women and parents with young children, who are in receipt of qualifying benefits, Healthy Start vouchers which can be used to purchase certain products in store, including fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, cow’s milk and infant formula suitable for use from birth.

From 1 October 2020 in England and Wales the Healthy Start scheme was also extended to include pulses and tinned fruit and vegetables.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “We welcome the Government’s decision to increase the value of Healthy Start vouchers and will work to communicate this change to retailers. Local shops play a vital role in feeding their communities, including providing their customers with a healthy food provision.

“Around a third of convenience retailers currently accept Healthy Start vouchers in their stores and we are committed to growing this number further. The Healthy Start scheme works, it’s getting bigger, and the people it aims to help are core convenience store customers – our sector needs to get behind Healthy Start even more.”