Northumberland Labour Group is delighted that the council’s leader has recognised the need to support the growing number of children in Northumberland who need free school meals over the holidays.
Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March there has been an 18 per cent rise in the number of children in the county requiring a free school meal.
Labour Group leader Susan Dungworth said: “We organised a petition and wrote to leader of the council Glen Sanderson. We are delighted that he listened and responded positively in yesterday’s meeting.
“The council leader has acknowledged we need a plan for the school holidays from Christmas though to and including the Easter holidays in 2021. The leader also agreed to our calls for a cross party working group to look at food poverty, including holiday hunger and develop a long term sustainable plan to tackle disadvantage across the county.
“I am so grateful to the people who added weight to this request with their signatures on the petition.
“I am also humbled by the actions of local people and businesses who were prepared to step in where the government would not.
“I understand there have been threats of violence against the Blyth Valley MP who, along with the other two conservative MPs in the county, voted with the government to refuse to provide free school meals over recent half term holiday.
“I want to make it plain that threats of violence are unacceptable and I am sorry for any worry this has caused to the MP and his family. I know myself how it feels to be threatened.
“While not condoning any acts or threats of violence, I do understand where the anger and frustration comes from. This year has taken many individuals and families to breaking point and people need to know their MP and the government has their back when they most need it.
“This is not a victory for the Labour group. It is a sign that the new council leader recognises that opposition councillors listen to their constituents and their voices need to be heard.
“The victory is the process of politicians working together to do the right thing for the people they serve. The winners are the children and families who more than ever need this help and support.”