Labour demands urgent action to prevent children going hungry again
Labour is demanding urgent government action to prevent children going hungry throughout lockdown after images circulated on social media show inadequate quantities of food being given to families.
Labour is calling for Ministers to urgently restart the national food vouchers scheme, which operated during the first national lockdown and helped ensure families were getting the full value of Free School Meals support.
Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, Tulip Siddiq MP, has written to Minister Vicky Ford calling on the Department for Education to urgently investigate the images. She states that: “Around 200,000 children were forced to skip meals at the height of the first lockdown – under no circumstances can this be allowed to happen again. Yet the images circulating online suggest that your Government has not learnt from the mistakes made during the first lockdown.”
Labour is calling on the government to set out:
- the results of the Department for Education’s investigation into the cases raised on social media, explaining why some families are receiving inadequate food support?
- what progress has been made on restarting the national voucher scheme?
- why national guidance states schools are only able to claim up to £3.50 in additional funding for food parcels, compared to £15 additional funding for vouchers?
- the steps the Department is taking to ensure that money provided for free school meals is not being wasted,
- a list of the stakeholders consulted over the new guidance for free school meals during lockdown.
Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, said:
“The images of food parcels circulating on social media are shameful. No child should go hungry in lockdown and the government must urgently explain how this has been allowed to happen.
“Around 200,000 children were forced to skip meals at the height of the first lockdown, this cannot happen again.
“I am meeting the Children’s Minister tomorrow to demand action and the immediate rollout of the national voucher scheme for free school meals.”