Children won't get free school meals over half-term and Christmas as Government refuse to extend scheme
16 October 2020, 08:09
Footballer Marcus Rashford has criticised Downing Street's decision after campaigning for the scheme throughout lockdown.
The Government's free school meal scheme will not continue into the October half term and Christmas holidays, Downing Street have announced.
While struggling families could claim food vouchers over the summer holidays amid the coronavirus lockdown, the help will not be offered in the coming breaks from school.
A spokesperson for Downing Street said this week: "We are in a different position now.
“It’s not for schools to regularly provide food to pupils during the school holidays."
Footballer Marcus Rashford, who campaigned throughout lockdown for the support, has criticised the Government's move.
In reply to the decision this week, he tweeted: "Merry Christmas kids...It’s also not for food banks to feed millions of British children but here we are. 250% increase in food poverty and rising...This is not going away anytime soon and neither am I..."
Wales, on the other hand, have announced this week that they will be offering free school meals during holidays to children up to Easter 2021.
Wales' Minister of Education said this week: "Happy to confirm today we’re making £11m available to guarantee free school meal provision during school holidays up to & including Easter 2021."
She also thanked Marcus Rashford for "spreading the news".
The Manchester United forward's petition for parliament demands: "Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme."