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MPs reject free holiday meals for pupils proposal

22nd Oct 2020 - 09:52
A Labour proposal to extend free school meals over the holidays until Easter 2021 has been defeated by 322 votes to 261.

The devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have already announced they are going to provide free school meals for schoolchildren during the holidays.

Food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, said: “A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made.

“This is not politics, this is humanity. We talk about the devastating impact of Covid-19 but, if the projections are anything to go by, child food poverty has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced.

“We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children. No more sticking plasters. Let’s face it head on. These children are the future of this country. They are not just another statistic. And for as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine. You have my word on that.”

According to new analysis by the House of Commons Library nearly one million children, living in areas that are subject to tier two and tier three Coronavirus restrictions, are set to lose their access to free school meals.

Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign co-ordinator, added: “We are profoundly dismayed that Parliament rejected the motion to provide foo support to vulnerable children during forthcoming school holidays.

“We thank all the MPs who spoke up for children today. We had hoped Parliament would unite, as this is not the first time for children living in food insecurity to be used as political footballs.”

Written by
Edward Waddell