Children could miss out on over 24 million meals this summer Labour analysis shows after the Conservatives refused to fully extend free school meals during the holidays.
The Government’s alternative holiday programme proposes free meals are provided to children who attend associated activities on just 16 of 30 weekdays this summer break, leaving children without food support for 14 days.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, Tulip Siddiq MP called the failure to guarantee free school meals over the whole summer “utterly shocking”. Labour is calling on the Government to trust parents and enable a system of cash payments for free school meals support during the holidays, ensuring families get the full value of this support and can choose the food and supplies that are right for their children.
Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan commits to extending free school meals support across the summer to ensure no child is left hungry, as the impact of the Conservatives’ decision to take financial support away from businesses will hit families.
Labour has also warned that the increase in Covid rates, which could see 3.5 million people a week forced to isolate, will result in children missing out further as the Government has no plan in place to support holiday schemes to get food to children who are isolating.
Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, said
“Feeding hungry children cannot be a part-time activity, yet this Conservative Government is again stripping away the support that millions of families rely on.
“Ministers have had to be shamed into providing food for hungry children throughout the pandemic and it is a disgrace that we are having to do this all over again.
“Ensuring no child goes hungry is at the heart of Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan, which includes guaranteeing free school meals support over all school holidays during the pandemic.”