Local Tory MPs vote down Free School Meals Motion
Suffolk Coastal and Waveney Tory MPs help to vote down proposal to extend Free School Meals
Peter Aldous (Waveney) and Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) voted against a motion to extend free school meals in England over the school holiday periods until Easter 2021 and whilst the pandemic continues to impact deprived areas especially and hit poorer families.
Unwilling to perform his usual U turn, Boris Johnson whipped his MPs to vote down the motion in Parliament yesterday which was lost by a majority of 61. (261 for and 322 against).
In a PMQ session in the Commons Lib Dem MP and a former PPC for Suffolk Coastal Daisy Cooper asked the PM 'when does the PM plan to do the right thing', referring to the Welsh Lib Dem Education Secretary Kirsty Williams who had extended the provision of FSM over the holidays until Easter 2021.
Liberal Democrats' health and social care spokeswoman Munira Wilson MP also shared her outrage: "It would be hugely unjust for this Govt to allow children to go hungry this winter, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.
"I urged the Govt to follow the lead of Lib Dem Education Minister Kirsty Williams in Wales by extending #FreeSchoolMeals over the school holidays."
As we reported on the website earlier this year the Government had been forced into ensuring the availability of FSM in the half term and Easter breaks by child poverty campaigners and by public pressure generated by Manchester Unitd Footballer Marcus Rashford. With the Covid pandemic still raging and schools closed campaigners renewed the pressure on the government to help families during the Summer holidays.
At that time, Sustain chief executive Kath Dalmeny said: "Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard more and more stories of families with children struggling to put food on the table due to having too little money. The situation has got worse as parents lose jobs and income.
"Hundreds of thousands of children have gone without food and many food banks and local authorities have told us they cannot keep up with the avalanche of demand for emergency food aid.
"Hunger has no respect for term-time dates. Throughout lockdown, Sustain and many others have repeatedly called on the government to guarantee that vulnerable children get the food they need, including over the long summer holiday. We have tried everything we can think of to secure every child's right to food, yet this week the government said it has no plans to help the majority of vulnerable children over the summer'.
The situation for many families has since worsened as the second peak of the Covid-19 forces many more; households to turn to foodbanks and Universal Credit and businesses to lay off employees or trigger redundancy and take a lower guaranteed income which will follow the end of the government first furlough scheme.
The Government, however insists that it has made adequate provision for family support and Messrs Coffey and Aldous to their shame have duly fallen into line and voted this comparatively modest financial proposal down. With Brexit having already cost the UK £200bn in lost economic growth, £2bn wasted on new border arrangements and £5bn on an attempt to replace the Galileo satellite navigation system, the refusal to ensure that children in England do not go to bed hungry is hardly the act of a world leader and surely a stain on our humanity. ( CSNI MP Dan Poulter has again been excused his chance to cast a vote).
Evening Standard 22/10/2020