Shadow Chancellor calls on Sunak to “come clean” on his role in blocking free school meals provision
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, has today written to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to “come clean” amid conflicting reports in the media about his role in the government’s refusal to provide free school meals to eligible children during school holidays.
Last week, Labour forced a vote on providing free school meals during the half term, Christmas and Easter holidays to all eligible children. Such a move has already been taken by the Labour government in Wales, which was praised by the footballer Marcus Rashford. The motion was defeated after 322 Conservative MPs, including Rishi Sunak, voted against it.
Over the weekend, reports emerged in the press that Sunak’s Treasury was responsible for blocking the proposal, which was been estimated to cost around £22 million per week. Today, allies of Mr Sunak are reported in the media as saying that the Department for Education never asked the Treasury for the funding. Ms Dodds has written to the Chancellor asking him to set out the facts of the case, including whether he received a funding request and if so, why he said no.
Anneliese Dodds said:
“It’s unbelievable that this government would refuse to provide food to the country’s poorest children at the height of the pandemic. And now Ministers are engaged in a desperate blame game rather than admitting they got this wrong and putting it right.
“The Chancellor should come clean about his role in this whole sorry affair. Parents wondering how they’re going to feed their children during the school holidays have a right to know.”