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Grantham area MPs vote against free school meals for children

All three MPs in this area have rejected a plan to extend free school meals over the school holidays.

Grantham and Stamford MP Gareth Davies, Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns and Sleaford and North Hykeham’s Caroline Johnson, all Conservatives, voted against the provision of hot food for children until Easter 2021, called for by Labour.

The motion was defeated by a majority of 61.

Gareth Davies, Caroline Johnson and Alicia Kearns (42825873)
Gareth Davies, Caroline Johnson and Alicia Kearns (42825873)

It came after England footballer Marcus Rashford launched a petition urging the Government to make the change, over concerns for a growing number of children with little access to food as Covid hits families’ pockets.

Leading the vote, Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said more than 1.4 million children benefit from free school meals nationally.
Almost 900,000 of those eligible were now in areas subject to tougher Covid-19 restrictions, she added.

“In the summer, when this issue was debated in this House, the Government saw sense, did the right thing and ensured that no child would go hungry over the summer holidays,” she said.

“This time, however, despite many families facing even more challenging circumstances now than they did four months ago, shamefully the Government are walking away from their obligation to hungry children.”

Her counterpart, education secretary Gavin Williamson, however, said the Government was in a different position.

“Free school meals are and always have been about supporting children with a meal to help them when they’re at school or currently at home learning,” he said.

“But it is our support through universal credit and our comprehensive welfare system that supports families.”

Eight of of nine Tory MPs across Greater Lincolnshire voted against the proposal. The only MP to vote for the plans was Scunthorpe Conservative MP Holly Mumby-Croft. Greater Grimsby MP Lia Nici and Brigg and Goole’s Andrew Percy did not vote.

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