Labour-led Milton Keynes Council will be providing help over half term next week to support families to feed children eligible for free school meals.

The Conservative government has refused to extend national free school meal support into February’s half term, which will fall in the current lockdown restrictions. Milton Keynes’ two Conservative MPs voted against extending the national scheme despite lockdown continuing.

However, Labour-led MK Council has stepped in to help over 7000 children and their families in Milton Keynes who are in receipt of the school meal voucher programme.

Nationally footballer Marcus Rashford has been campaigning on the issue of free school meals, with the government previously having to backtrack on a number of occasions due to pressure, including a U-turn before Christmas and humiliating our local Conservative MPs who had voted against the extension just days before.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Once again Labour-led Milton Keynes Council is stepping in where the Conservative government has failed. Local families have been continuously let down by the government on this issue since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and they have stopped their national support this half term despite lockdown continuing.”

She continued: “As we face another school holiday under current lockdown restrictions, children and families in Milton Keynes and across the country are just as in need now, if not more so, than in March last year. It’s disgraceful, that once again some of the most vulnerable in our communities are being left behind by a Tory government. After ten years of the Conservatives in power there are now more children in poverty than ever and more children going hungry. A Labour-led MK Council can’t stand by and let that happen. The government have continuously refused support or been forced into U-turns, and when food has been provided it has been an utter shambles.”

She concluded: “I’m proud that Labour-led MK Council has been able to pick up the slack where the Tories have failed, to ensure that children in our city aren’t going hungry next week, and families have the support they need.”

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