Northumberland’s Labour Group is urging Northumberland County Council and national government to do the right thing and ensure that children on free school meals continue to receive this support over the February half term.
Labour Group deputy leader Scott Dickinson, who is also Northumberland’s shadow cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This third national lockdown is very tough for many individuals and families and, once again, children are bearing the brunt of it.
“Time and time again this government has had to be shamed into providing food for hungry children over school holidays. Stopping free school meals support over half-term will be devastating for many families who are living on the breadline in this pandemic.
“The Prime Minister’s claim to be morally outraged at images of woefully inadequate food parcels will ring hollow for parents who are worried about whether they will be able to put food on the table for their children over half-term.”
Around 200,000 children were forced to skip meals at the height of the first lockdown – under no circumstances can this be allowed to happen again.
Scott added: “The images circulating online suggest that the government has not learnt from the mistakes made during the first lockdown. Its own guidance on what should be in food parcels is strikingly similar to images circulating on social media in recent days – with less than a 50p daily difference. A couple of tins and a bottle of milk isn’t the difference between acceptable or unacceptable.
“The government’s response has yet again been far too slow, with national food vouchers only becoming available from next week – two weeks after schools moved to remote learning. The government must get on and deliver the national voucher scheme it has committed to restarting to ensure that all children are able to get the food they need.
“Children are going hungry now – this cannot wait.”