Children in Nottinghamshire could miss out on 316,792 meals this summer new Labour analysis shows after the Conservatives refused to fully extend free school meals during the holidays. Nationally children could miss out on over 24 million meals this summer.
The Government’s alternative holiday programme proposes free meals are provided to children who attend associated activities on just 16 of 30 weekdays this summer break, leaving children without food support for 14 days.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, Tulip Siddiq MP called the failure to guarantee free school meals over the whole summer “utterly shocking”.
Mansfield Labour’s mayor, Andy Abrahams said:
“A year after Marcus Rashford first forced the Conservatives to feed hungry children during the school holidays it is frankly unbelievable that we are here again.
“After the 18 months people in Mansfield have had – and the billions wasted on crony contracts and a track and trace system that doesn’t work – families will be flabbergasted that this government still thinks it’s ok to let children go hungry over the school holidays.”
“No child in Mansfield should be left to go hungry. Britain is better than this – but time and again this Conservative government just keep on letting us down and families in Mansfield are paying the price.”
Labour is calling on the Government to trust parents and enable a system of cash payments for free school meals support during the holidays, ensuring families get the full value of this support and can choose the food and supplies that are right for their children.
Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan commits to extending free school meals support across the summer to ensure no child is left hungry, as the impact of the Conservatives’ decision to take financial support away from businesses will hit families.
Labour has also warned that the increase in Covid rates, which could see 3.5 million people a week forced to isolate, will result in children missing out further as the Government has no plan in place to support holiday schemes to get food to children who are isolating.
Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Children, said
“Feeding hungry children cannot be a part-time activity, yet this Conservative Government is again stripping away the support that millions of families rely on.
“Ministers have had to be shamed into providing food for hungry children throughout the pandemic and it is a disgrace that we are having to do this all over again.
“Ensuring no child goes hungry is at the heart of Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan, which includes guaranteeing free school meals support over all school holidays during the pandemic.”
Notes to editors
There are 30 weekdays this summer holiday.
The Government’s guidance to the Holiday Activities and Food Programme says: “The aim of the programme is to make free places available to children eligible for and in receipt of free school meals for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 6 weeks a year. This would cover 4 weeks in the summer”. 4 days across 4 weeks = 16 days.
This would mean children getting access to free school meals on just 16 of those weekdays.
- Children eligible for FSMs in Nottinghamshire – 22,628
- Days not covered by guidance – 14
- Meals missed on these days for Children – 316,792
- Nationally more than 1.7m children will miss more than 24m meals
Children eligible for free school meals: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics
Labour has called for a system of cash transfers to ensure families get choice and receive the full value of free school meals support: https://labour.org.uk/press/labour-estimates-over-half-a-million-children-have-become-eligible-for-free-school-meals-during-the-pandemic/
Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan commits to:
Ensure no child goes hungry: no child will go hungry with Labour, by extending free school meals over the holidays, including the summer break. https://labour.org.uk/childrens-recovery-plan/
The Government cut financial support for businesses on 1st July https://labour.org.uk/press/new-figures-show-over-400000-businesses-in-england-to-be-hit-by-end-of-support-measures-on-1st-july-despite-many-being-unable-to-open/