South Yorkshire MP welcomes government decision to provide free school meals

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey has welcomed the government's decision to provide free school meals to eligible children throughout the summer.

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 10:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 10:58 am

The Labour MP wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson calling on the government to continue issuing free school meal vouchers through the summer holidays, after staff from primary schools, parents and food bank volunteers in the area told him how vital the free school meal scheme is.

Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford also led calls to extend the scheme.

Mr Healey said: “Close to 14,000 children in Rotherham and Barnsley are entitled to free school meals and many family budgets are under extra strain because of the lockdown.

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“The Government's U-turn on free school meals, ahead of the House of Commons debate secured by Labour, is welcome and a victory for the 1.3 million children who were at risk of going hungry this summer. It's a small extra cost for Government but a huge help for many families."

In his letter to Mr Williamson, Mr Healey said: “It defies common sense. Why is a hungry child in May different to a hungry child in August?

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have both pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help people get through the Covid-19 crisis.

“This promise rings hollow for parents who will struggle to feed their kids through July and August, if the free school meal voucher scheme is axed.”

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