Medway Labour and Cooperative Group today condemned the government’s decision to cut the amount of money for vulnerable families who need free school meals over half-term.

This was caused by the government’s decision to limit the amount from its Winter Grant to be spent on free school meals, despite the increased numbers of families who need free school meals compared to previous school breaks.

The increased numbers of families who need support is the result of the economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, pushing Medway families into increased levels of financial strain.

Cllr Pat Cooper, Labour and Cooperative Group member of Medway Council’s Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee said today, ‘This government had to be pushed into providing free school meals during school breaks after being shamed into it by the compassion for vulnerable families shown by Marcus Rashford. They are now cutting that provision by the back door.

‘The number of poor families in Medway has risen as the numbers of families impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic has grown. But this shameful government has kept the fund available the same. We have seen a spike in numbers of people claiming Universal Credit and the children in those families need the vital support that free school meals gives.’

Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of Medway Labour and Cooperative Group, said today, ‘I am appalled by this callous decision by a government that has performed so poorly during the pandemic. Our Medway families, already facing financial stress, are now facing a cut to the most basic support – food for hungry children. Instead of £15.00 provided up to now, families will be limited to £10.00. Boris Johnson should hang his head in shame.’

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