Free School Meals: Summer Holidays

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:07 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Naseem Shah Naseem Shah Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 5:07 pm, 16th June 2020

I absolutely agree with the hon. Lady. We need to continually raise those points in the House. The Government can say that they are running a pilot scheme in constituencies such as mine, rolled out by the Department for Education, but such schemes simply do not go far enough.

The fight against child poverty and desperation needs much more intervention. In 2018, the programme reached 2,000 children in Bradford. Although I welcome it reaching every single one of those 2,000 children, what about the other 38,000? Businesses, charities and grassroots organisations in my constituency have been working tirelessly on that, but I am sorry—funding the NHS, protecting our streets and feeding hungry children are not the responsibilities of our charities; they are the responsibilities of democratic Governments of the first world. They are our responsibility. Perhaps those in government do not know how it feels to live in poverty, but they sure know how to make U-turns. For once I can say that I am glad about the U-turn the Government have made today.