Free School Meals: Summer Holidays

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:56 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Laura Farris Laura Farris Conservative, Newbury 4:56 pm, 16th June 2020

I would like to start by congratulating my hon. Friend Alexander Stafford on an excellent maiden speech and his lyrical description of his constituency. I also congratulate him on the arrival of his daughter.

I warmly welcome the Government announcement of the covid summer food fund to provide meals through the school summer holidays, and I am grateful to know that, as a new MP, when I raised my voice, the Government were listening. There are three reasons why I felt this was the right thing to do.

The first is the simplicity of the implementation process. I know there is a convenient narrative that the Conservatives were going to keep children hungry through the summer holidays, and I know that that was not the case. I am grateful to the Minister for taking time with me yesterday to explain what the plan was for families who are facing extreme difficulty during the summer, and I considered very carefully what was suggested—the £63 million that was being made available to local authorities to fund families in need, and the £9 million to fund holiday camps where lunch would also be provided.