Monday 15 February 2021 / 8:15 AM Kate Green

Labour calls for transformation in support for families as children face postcode lottery in half-term food support

Labour is today calling for a transformation in support for families as the Government’s decision not to extend free school meals over February half-term leaves 1.4 million children facing a five-day postcode lottery in food support.

Ahead of meeting with families, headteachers, foodbank providers and local councillors in Hammersmith and Fulham, Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green, is calling on the Government to deliver a step change in support for families to rebuild our country and secure the economy after this pandemic.

After a decade of Conservative Governments families have been left with no safety net, with 4.2 million children, or nine in every class of 30 pupils, in poverty before the Covid crisis hit. Throughout the pandemic growing evidence has shown that child poverty has set back children’s education, with children in families that are struggling financially falling furthest behind their peers during national lockdowns.

Labour is calling on the Government to put families first during this latest lockdown by:

·     extending free school meals across all school holidays this year and establishing a cash transfers system to ensure families receive the full value of support;

·     stopping the planned cut to universal credit, which could push a further 200,000 children into poverty;

·     backing local councils with funding to prevent the planned rise in council tax;

·     giving key workers the pay rise they deserve.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“A decade of Conservative Government had eroded families’ safety nets with poverty rates rising even before the pandemic.

“The last year has shone a light on the impacts of poverty on health, wellbeing and learning. As we rebuild after this pandemic, we must deliver a transformation in support for families, starting with cancelling the planned cut to Universal Credit and guaranteeing provision of free school meals across all school holidays this year.”