Free School Meals: Summer Holidays

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 16th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sam Tarry Sam Tarry Labour, Ilford South 6:41 pm, 16th June 2020

I welcome the Government’s U-turn on this important issue, and it is incredibly disappointing that it has taken a high-profile intervention—a “Match of the Day”-worthy goal—from Marcus Rashford to get us to this point. I think of my constituents in Ilford South, where we have over 4,000 children who claim free school meal vouchers, and, potentially, with 17,500 people on furlough, that figure could rise to a far worse and frightening level.

Unsurprisingly, I have been inundated with emails from concerned constituents in precarious positions. Andrea, with three children, currently has no income whatever due to the covid crisis, her mental health damaged. I will quickly mention one young man—a 10-year-old, Muhammad Ameen, who took the time to write to me from my old primary school, Highlands, in Ilford South. He said that some children whose

“parents are poor, have to suffer hunger in this crisis and are not getting the free school meals they need. I must stress this is for the families who desperately need it.”

I know that we are short on time, so I will finish by saying that it does not often happen that someone who is a West Ham supporter will congratulate and thank Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, but by highlighting this, he has held a mirror up to the Government. Thankfully, they have responded and are going to help all those people in my constituency to get through this summer—