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 Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 1:01 pm, 27th October 2020

My Lords, in June, the Minister rebuffed my call for an extension of free school meal vouchers to cover the summer holidays, saying:

“There is support out there for those who need provision.”—[Official Report, 10/6/20; col. 1745.]

Days later, the Government U-turned, and the Minister explained that by saying:

“We have listened, we recognise the pressures that families will be under … due to the Covid crisis, and we have responded to that.”—[Official Report, 17/6/20; col. 2180.]

But lessons were not learned and today, despite the funding mentioned earlier by the Minister, children across the country are going hungry. During a pandemic, how can the most vulnerable children in our society not be a priority for support? Will the Minister now urge her Government to show compassion and agree to fund free school meals for all school holidays until spring 2021?