“Kindness is power” says the tweet pinned to the top of footballer Marcus Rashford’s twitter account today as the beleaguered Boris Johnson finally caved in to overwhelming public pressure to extend free school meals for the most vulnerable children during school holidays.
It is the latest in a long line of Conservative U-turns. Only last month the party whipped its MPs to vote against a Labour motion in the House of Commons calling for the extension of free school meal provision.
It’s understood that the Government has now reluctantly agreed to fund a winter grant scheme via local councils worth around £170m with at least 80% earmarked for help with food and bills. Additionally, the holiday food and activities programme will be expanded to cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021.
Labour Group Leader Cllr Tim Swift said:
“We welcome today’s announcement. It is good news for over 7000 children in Calderdale who will receive the support they need to prevent holiday hunger over the next year.
“But the Government must go further. The extra funding announced today is still time limited. We need a long-term solution addressing the growing levels of child poverty in our communities and that’s why we helped to launch the campaign ‘Never Hungry Again”
“Through our new fund, long-term commitment and wider anti-poverty plan, we will work to ensure that children and young people get the good-quality, healthy food and lifeline that they need, not just during school holidays, but all year round. And not just next year, every year.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown by organisations and local people throughout our borough. I couldn’t agree with Marcus Rashford more. Kindness is power and here in Calderdale we have spades of it and we’re proud to play our part in his movement to end child poverty once and for all”.