Councillors call for free school meals during holidays

More than a thousand councillors across England have written to the government calling for free school meals to be provided over the half-term and summer breaks.

As of yet, ministers have maintained that there are no plans to fund free school meals during the forthcoming holidays. Children’s Minister Vicky Ford responde to a parliamentary question recently stating that the government had no plans to extend the scheme into future holiday periods, but the situation would be kept under review.

A last minute plan was put in place for the Easter holidays to help support the most disadvantaged families, but councillors have stressed that ‘holiday hunger’ is likely to be an issue moving forward as well.

The letter, addressed to the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “As you will know, holiday hunger is an issue for many families and we would like your assurances that families eligible for FSM will be given food vouchers to sustain them during the summer holidays. We believe that this should become a permanent fixture within our school system, so no child need go hungry during the school holidays again.”

Tulip Siddiq, Shadow Minister for Children and Early Years, said: “Many more children are going hungry in this crisis, so this is absolutely not the time to be withdrawing support for free school meals. There have been huge admin problems with the free school meal voucher scheme which we have been urging ministers to sort out, but it is a terrible mistake to take this crucial support away at a critical moment.”