Holiday Hunger Schemes

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:56 pm on 6th November 2018.

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Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools) 3:56 pm, 6th November 2018

It is a genuine pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer, as it was to serve under your leadership as a young councillor on Manchester City Council. I suspect the love-in will cease there as we approach Manchester derby day on Sunday, given that we support different colours of the city. We will just have to try to get along as best as we can over the next few days.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Ruth Smeeth on her excellent speech and on securing this timely debate. I will be critical of some Members in a moment, but it was really interesting to hear the passion with which all Members spoke about this issue in their constituencies. I will know my hon. Friend Carolyn Harris for ever more as the sandwich lady, and the hon. Members for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss) and for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens) know exactly what is going on in their constituencies with respect to hunger. Before I came to the Chamber, my parliamentary assistant sent me my monthly digital bulletin to sign off. In it was an appeal for more food for food banks, which are running desperately low as we approach Christmas. That is a worry for many of us in our constituencies.

Hon. Members will be aware that I am not my hon. Friend Mrs Lewell-Buck, who should be answering the debate—she cannot be here, for which she apologises. I pay tribute to her and my right hon. Friend Frank Field for their work on the APPG on hunger. They do not just walk the walk on this issue—they talk the talk. They set up a charity to tackle it after touring constituencies up and down our land.

Let me return to my Scottish colleagues for a second. After Mr Stringer bid for the Olympic games for Manchester and secured the Commonwealth games, I became a huge friend of Glasgow’s. As a director of Manchester velodrome, I supported Glasgow through its bids to build a velodrome and to host the Commonwealth games. However, having changed hue last May, Glasgow City Council is still being forced to implement millions upon millions of pounds of cuts—£53 million of cuts to services in the constituencies of the hon. Members for Glasgow Central and for Glasgow South West—by the Scottish Government. Last year, it cut more than £5 million from education budgets. We begin to see that it is not just central Government who are to blame for this issue—there are other Governments up and down our land who have not walked the walk or talked the talk. I am sorry to have to raise that, but it is the case, and there is sometimes very little scrutiny in this place of what goes on north of the border.