Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham has hit out at the Government for refusing to extend the voucher scheme for free school meal provision through Whitsun week in May. These are challenging times for many and extending the voucher scheme throughout school holidays reduces the burden on families already living in poverty who now have to deal with the added challenges the pandemic has brought.
Alex submitted a parliamentary question asking the Secretary of State for Education if the scheme would apply at Whitsun but Tory Minister Vicky Ford MP confirmed that there are no plans to do this. Ford states “during the Easter holidays the department met the costs of offering free school meals to eligible pupils not attending school during term time weeks. This was in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time.”
“This is typical of our mean-spirited, tight-fisted Tory Government. It is rich of the Government to say they will do all they can to support people through the COVID-19 crisis but won’t even support our poorest and most vulnerable children with free school meals during half term at the end of this month.
“We are still living under ‘unprecendented levels of disruption and uncertainity’, with families facing wage cuts, long waiting times for universal credit and increases in living costs. The least the Government should do is slightly ease the burden bore by the poorest in society by providing children with a free lunch throughout upcoming Whitsun week.
“This Tory Government have once again proved they couldn’t care less about the poor.”