MPs could vote again 'before Christmas' on free school meals plan

MEPs could vote again before Christmas on a plan to extend free school meals during the holidays.

The government is coming under increasing pressure to address the issue. With Labor’s warning, she will bring the plan back to the House of Commons if ministers do not give in before Christmas.

Kate Green, secretary for shadow formation, called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet “urgently” with the task force set up by footballer Marcus Rashford to discuss their proposals to end child poverty.

On Wednesday, the government defeated a Labor motion calling for the extension of free meals to eligible children during school holidays in England by Easter 2021 by a majority of more than 60 commons.

The vote, however, was only to increase public support for the Rashford-launched campaign, with local businesses and other organizations making offers for free meals.

At the same time, a number of councils – including some Conservative-led agencies – have announced stop-gap programs to cover the October half-time break starting Monday.

In a letter to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, Ms. Green said that if the government were not ready to change course before the Christmas break, Labor would make sure the issue got back down to the commons.

She wrote: “There is still time to change the approach, but the government needs to act quickly. If you change your policies now, we can make sure no child goes to bed hungry on Christmas Day,” she wrote.

“Labor is not going to give up the fight to make sure no child goes to bed hungry and unless you change course we will bring this issue back to the House of Commons before Christmas.”

Labor said it would prevent over a million children from starving.

Ministers have insisted that they will not withdraw, arguing that more targeted action can be more effective in helping children in need.

The government had already been forced to turn around on this issue in the summer due to Rashford’s campaigns.

Five Conservative MPs rebelled Wednesday in support of the Labor motion.

A spokesman # 10 said, “This government has expanded free school lunch eligibility to more children than any other in decades.

“We offered free school meals when schools were partially closed, we increased welfare by £ 9.3 billion and gave councils £ 63 million for families in financial difficulties.

“In addition to the holiday activities and the nutrition program, we have also provided vouchers through the Covid Summer Food Fund.”


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