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West Suffolk Liberal Democrats

Govt must go beyond u-turn on free school meals to give every child best start

June 18, 2020 3:19 PM
Originally published by South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats accused the Government of being "callous and heartless" for spending £120m on a Festival For Brexit, when the same amount of money could be spent on extending free school meals over the summer.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, Layla Moran, made the intervention ahead of an opposition debate today on calls to extend free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak. The Government recently confirmed that the Festival for Brexit will be going ahead in 2022, with £120 million of taxpayers' money earmarked for the event. This is the exact same amount it would cost to extend free school meals to all eligible pupils over the six-week summer holiday.

Just a few hours later the
Prime Minister's performed another u-turn, this time on free school meals, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"Too many vulnerable children face falling through the cracks. We are grateful to Marcus Rashford and all those campaigners who have helped force the Prime Minister to rediscover his conscience, but it should never have been needed.

"The Government must now work cross-party and with parents, teache School meals ()rs and local governments to do more. We must ensure no child is left behind.

"That starts with Liberal Democrat proposals to combine the free school meals voucher scheme with an emergency uplift in child benefit and a 'catch-up premium' to ensure every child has the best start in life."

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Government of being "callous and heartless" for spending £120m on a Festival For Brexit, when the same amount of money could be spent on extending free school meals over the summer.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson, Layla Moran, made the intervention ahead of an opposition debate today on calls to extend free school meals during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government recently confirmed that the Festival for Brexit will be going ahead in 2022, with £120 million of taxpayers' money earmarked for the event. This is the exact same amount it would cost to extend free school meals to all eligible pupils over the six-week summer holiday.

Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

"Leaving children hungry while ploughing millions into Brexit propaganda is callous and heartless. This appalling waste of money shows where the government's priorities lie.

"It's not rocket science. If the government can spend £120 million on a Brexit 'festival', they could easily spend the same on ensuring the most disadvantaged children have enough to eat over the summer holidays.

"It is about time that the Education Secretary went to the training ground with Marcus Rashford to take some lessons on how best to support the most vulnerable pupils."