It has been appalling to see image after pathetic image of free school meal parcels that
families across the country have been receiving.
The Prime Minister had the audacity to call the pictures “disgraceful” but, as Keir Starmer highlighted at Prime Minister’s Questions, the parcels were designed on Government guidelines.
The Tories need to stop placing the blame elsewhere and stand up and take responsibility for once.
The Government’s own guidance recommends a food parcel for children including less than £7-worth of food, despite funding for free school meals being £15 per child each week. Our families are being short-changed.
The Government needs to trust families and enable a system of cash payments for free school meals while schools are closed to most pupils, ending the scandal of inadequate food parcels and giving families choice over how to receive support.
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To add insult to injury, the Government has also told schools not to provide free school meals over February half-term.
How have they not learned their lesson? Stopping free school meals over half-term will be devastating for many families who are living on the breadline in this pandemic.
This is a serially incompetent and cruel Government, taking food away from the families who need it the most.
Parents should be given the freedom to choose their own food and create their own meal plans. This is what some councils and the Labour government in Wales are doing.
Trusting families and putting the cash in their pockets will be a lifeline for millions of children, ensuring that the full value of free school meals goes to feeding children – not the costs or profits of private companies.
As sure as night follows day, it’s uncanny how often there’s a senior executive who stands to profit who is linked to the Tory Party – as a donor, supporter or mate of a Cabinet minister.
In the past year, we’ve seen example after example of cronyism.
Businesses linked to the Tories were able to exploit VIP access and win over £1billion of public contracts without going to tender during this pandemic.
They’re trying to take us for fools and it needs to stop.
It’s clearer than ever that this government does not value life equally.
At a time when we should be coming together to support one another to eradicate this virus, this Tory government has no interest in supporting all those families who are losing their livelihoods.
They are simply not acting in the national interest. The Government has shown time and again that their priorities do not reflect the basic needs of our communities.
Their U-turns – including free school meals, exam grades and a November circuit-breaker – clearly demonstrate that they don’t have a handle on this virus. By the time they take action, it’s sadly far too late.
The impact that this has had is huge – people’s health and livelihoods are at risk.
We have to stand together to protect each other during this pandemic.