At a Full Council meeting, Councillors backed a Liberal Democrat motion calling for the continuation for the provision of free school meals during the lockdown period and extend them through holiday periods through the remainder of the school year.
The motion, proposed by Housing and Benefits Portfolio Holder Cllr. Greg Hayman, called for:
- Extended eligibility for school meals to every pupil whose parents or guardians are in receipt of Universal Credit
- Food vouchers for every one of those pupils in every school holiday and during any period of lockdown
- Extended eligibility for free school meals to pupils from low-income families whose parents or guardians have no recourse to public funds
The current provision of free school meals was recently extended through the Christmas holidays through the nationwide campaign headed by Marcus Rashford.
Addressing Members, Cllr. Hayman spoke passionately of his own experiences of receiving free school meals in his childhood days, and added:
"There should be no shame attached to families who require free school meals as a result of poverty or lack of access to funds. It is really important that children don’t go hungry, it affects their wellbeing, ability to grow and ability to learn.”
The motion was passed by Full Council with 29 votes in favour and 8 abstentions.
The Council will now write a letter to the Secretary of State for Education, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and local MPs requesting the supported provisions.