Earlier this week, the Government finally gave in to pressure and committed to providing much needed support for low income families through the school holidays. I welcome the increased funding for food charities and local authorities and the expansion of the holiday food programmes, but this came too late for many families abandoned by the government over the October half-term. The Labour Party brought forward a plan a month ago to continue funding for families eligible for free school meals through the holidays, but the Government shamefully voted this down, whilst Tory backbenchers treated families in poverty with contempt.
Our local councils, Lambeth and Southwark, and many community groups across Dulwich and West Norwood, inspired by Marcus Rashford’s campaign, stepped up to fill the gap in support. But in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, feeding hungry children should not be up for debate and it should not be a postcode lottery. I will continue to call on the Government to reverse their damaging cuts to welfare support and tackle the growing levels of child poverty in our country.