Northumberland Labour Leader Susan Dungworth
Northumberland Labour Leader Susan Dungworth

Northumberland’s Labour Group says the government’s rejection of providing free school meals or vouchers over the holidays is scandalous and shameful.

The need for help is clear. There has been an 18 per cent increase in children receiving free school meals between March and October with the actual numbers going from 7,473 in March to 8,818 in October.

Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “These families have plummeted into needing free school meals through no fault of their own. There are an additional 1,345 additional children requiring free school meal support since the pandemic began.

“There are absolutely no excuses for the position the Conservatives took. It’s also shameful that all the Conservative MPs in Northumberland voted against this. It shows how out of touch they are and how supporting the Conservative Party is more important than supporting families in need in their constituencies.

“Many families across our county suddenly cannot afford to pay bills and sustain a basic standard of living and they are genuinely concerned about the future and feeding their children.

“We should be showing them support during the school holiday and supporting these families over the coming months.

“We will be pressing council leaders to offer the same support as many local authorities have decided to do, despite the government vote.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support offered from individuals and businesses in Northumberland who’ve offered to step in while this failing government shows how little it cares for ordinary people.  However, it is the job of the government to ensure that families have enough to live on and they should not be reliant on charitable donations”

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