Pressure mounts to reverse school meals decision

Pressure mounts to reverse school meals decision

Pressure mounts to reverse school meals decision

The government is facing increasing pressure to reverse the decision not to provide free school meals in England over the holidays.

The motion was defeated earlier this week with 321 votes against the motion to 261 supporting it.

If approved, the initiative led by footballer Marcus Rashford MBE would have been extended during the school holidays until Easter 2021.

It would have seen households with vulnerable children being given food vouchers to cover the costs of providing lunches while children at home.

Labour MPs are now threatening to push for a second vote on the matter, as the PM faces calls to meet with Rashford to discuss the free school meals campaign.

Some 2000 UK doctors have also called for the decision to be reconsidered.

Members of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

“Few would disagree that one of our most basic human responsibilities is to ensure children have enough to eat.

“We call on the UK government to continue to provide children from low-income backgrounds with free meals over the coming weeks and to then extend this at least until the Easter school holiday.”

Downing Street says it has already increased welfare support, which includes tens of millions of pounds in funding for councils to help vulnerable families during the pandemic.

But there is growing criticism, including from within the Conservative party over the government’s decision to rule out extending meal vouchers in England over the school holidays.

All other UK nations have extended the policy beyond term time.

Since the decision, hundreds of businesses and some local councils across England have committed to helping to feed vulnerable children during the October half term.

Marcus Rashford has praised the community response, saying he “couldn’t be more proud to call myself British”.

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