Free School Meals - Private Notice Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:01 pm on 27th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Lord Griffiths of Burry Port Labour 1:01 pm, 27th October 2020

My Lords, I was in receipt of free meals throughout my entire school career. My mother was a single woman and her only income was the contributions of the national assistance. We lived in one room. I remember very clearly—I can still taste and smell it—the mounting panic ahead of school holidays, because the income we had could not stretch to feeding two boys and a mother in that day. Marcus Rashford and I have this, and probably only this, in common: we remember, not in our heads but in our whole bodies. An old Etonian, of course, cannot be expected to have had the same experience. Some local councils will draw money in the way that the Government are suggesting, from allocations they have received. Other local authorities will not. Some communities will rise to the challenge. Other communities will not. Some children will get through. Most will not. Will the Minister give us some reassurance—not hide behind global figures—and understand that postcode lottery is not a formula that is destined to help the well-being of our children?