'Volunteers and community groups are putting government to shame over free school meals' says Yvette Cooper

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said the governement is being 'put to shame' by volunteers who have stepped in to help after parliament voted against extending a free school meals scheme.

Monday, 26th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Yvette Cooper

A motion brought by Labour to expand free school meals for underpriveleged children over the school holidays was defeated in the House of Commons by 261 votes to 322.

The motion followed a campaign by Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford to help deprived children.

Yvette Cooper said "It is shocking that Tory MPs have voted to block free school meal support for half term and Christmas holidays when many families are facing the toughest winter for a generation.

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"No child should go hungry in the 21st century. Marcus Rashford is right that the government should be supporting families not turning its backs.

"Tory Ministers may have said no but our local communities aren’t accepting that.

"From Kellingley Club in Knottingley to the Magnet in Castleford, lots of local organisations are stepping in to help families with food this week. Our community volunteers are putting the government to shame. The Government should think again."

Conservative MPs Imran Ahmad Khan, representing Wakefield, and Andrea Jenykns, representing Morley and Outwood, were among those to vote against the motion, in a move described as "shameful" and "callous" by the Wakefield branch of the National Education Union.