World News – GB – Government aide resigns after voting for Rashford’s school lunch plan


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A ministerial aide resigned today after voting with Labor for a move led by footballer Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals during the holidays

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was one of five Tories to back the Labor motion

The government rejected the initiative by 322 votes to 261 votes However, England star Rashford has vowed to continue campaigning

School leaders urged the government to reverse the decision taken last night, warning that families are going through « unimaginable » hardships

In a statement today, Ms Ansell said: ‘I am very concerned that we do all we can to help low-income families and their children who are really struggling due to the impact of the virus

« Last night, I voted in favor of Labor’s motion to extend free school meal vouchers until Easter 2021 for families benefiting from universal credit or an equivalent benefit »

She added: “As we still live in the shadow of the pandemic, the vouchers are a lever – not perfect, not sustainable – but which I thought could be used to reach families across the country in the immediate before I could not in good conscience ignore this belief « 

London leaders and a head of a food charity have called for a U-turn after more than 300,000 people signed a petition launched by Rashford calling for children to be given food during the holidays

Jared Brading, executive director of St Mary’s Catholic School in Battersea, said: « I urge them to rethink in time for Christmas Demands for free school meals are increasing in London schools and the decision will inevitably mean that children will be hungry « 

Sahreen Siddiqui, principal of Stanhope Primary School in Ealing, where 28% of children are entitled to free school meals, said: “It is a horrible feeling to know at the end of the term that the children are coming home. at home without sufficient food It’s not okay

« It is simply unimaginable what it must be like for these families who cannot put food on the table » Stephanie Slater, CEO of the School Food Matters charity, said: « The government can and must tackle the problem of food poverty so that our most vulnerable children can enjoy school holidays without fear of hunger »

Robert Halfon, Conservative chairman of the Commons education committee, who also voted with Labor, called on ministers to develop a long-term plan to prevent children from going hungry, such as the extension of breakfast clubs

“The Prime Minister and Secretary of Education should sit down with the Marcus Rashford task force to work on long-term planning,” he told The Standard

Rashford has warned that ‘significant numbers’ of children will go to bed hungry and ‘feel like they don’t matter’ because of comments from some MPs yesterday

Downing Street has ruled out making a late U-turn ahead of the vote, with Boris Johnson telling MPs support will continue for low-income children

Home Secretary Kit Malthouse said the decision not to extend free school meals during the holidays was « difficult », but the government felt it could better help families through the benefit system

He added: « We decided early on that the best way to target the money to low-income families was through the aid system »

He denied that MPs ‘tied up’ in Rashford, after it emerged that the whips had circulated points that Conservative MPs could use during the Commons debate

You can consult the entire community rules

Caroline Ansell

World News – UK – Government aide resigns after voting for Rashford’s school lunch plan



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