Rachel Spencer-Henshall, the Director of Public Health at Kirklees Council, has urged the government to allocate additional capital to support the low-income group households in Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

Rachel is among the more than 50 participants to a letter calling Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Matt Hancock to make the change to the Healthy Start scheme, which offers pregnant women and low-income households with children under the age of 4 with free vitamins and food coupons to buy vegetables, fruit, pulses and milk.

Rachel and her associates want the government to grant an additional  £115 million a year into enhancing Healthy Start, which will include improving the value of coupons from £3.10 to £4.25 per week.

They also want the scheme to be extended to every pregnant woman and those families having children under the age of four in receipt of Universal Credit, or comparable allowances and for a £5 million communications campaign to be funded.

Their call comes after it was found that not everyone qualified was benefiting from the scheme.

In the meantime, the value of the voucher has not increased in line with inflation since 2009.

The letter urges the government to agree to a proposal taken from the National Food Strategy Part One to enhance the Healthy Start scheme. The proposal is one of three “important requests” embraced by England footballer Marcus Rashford in his #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign.

Last month, the council said it would take care of the monetary expenses of free school meals for underprivileged children during the October mid-term break and for future school holidays.