Free School Meals: Summer Holidays

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:49 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East 5:49 pm, 16th June 2020

I do.

I want to make the link between poverty and achievement. Central Government funding per pupil has dropped by 8.4% since 2013. At the same time, my constituency has a lower than average GCSE attainment level, and only 6% of our students%—less than half the national average—achieve AAB at A-level. Do this Government not believe that young people in my constituency deserve the same opportunity to receive a good education? Do they not believe that it is a national scandal for any child to go hungry while billionaires and big corporations make ever-increasing profits? Two thirds of the current Cabinet were privately educated, yet they systematically deny working-class young people the opportunities that they were afforded.

That this Government of the super-rich by the super-rich and for the super-rich could have listened to these figures and still even thought about denying vulnerable children the security of a daily meal is beyond callous. The Government would have known from their own equality impact assessment that their plans would have impacted black communities worst. Therefore, they would have lent themselves to the charge of institutional racism. They would have known that the right thing to do was to take the data, follow the evidence and change the outcomes towards the transformational change that Black Lives Matter demands. Instead, it was left to Marcus Rashford and young people such as Dev Sharma from Leicester to present the case for humanity.