The Yorkshire Evening Post followed in The Mirror’s footsteps yesterday by calling out local MPs who voted against extending free school meals over the holidays until 2021.
Three MPs in Leeds – including the MP for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), the MP for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke) and the MP for Morley and Outwood (Andrea Jenkyns) – voted down a Labour motion which was defeated by 322 votes to 261, with Child Poverty Action Group saying ” We’ve reached a low point” with the Government ducking its “moral responsibility”.
It has sparked outrage since, with a campaign to end subsidised food and alcohol in Parliament reignited on the back of the free school meal snub.
The transformation of the Daily Star from a place to gawp at boobs into the leaders of the revolution is quite something pic.twitter.com/yvQAXyJ24t— James Felton (@JimMFelton) October 22, 2020
A petition on 38degrees has seen several thousand new signatures since the motion was denied, with one person saying they were “disgusted” that politicians voted not to provide free meals for vulnerable children despite their own meals being subsidised.
Another said: “MPs have had a pay rise, and they have subsidised food. They have voted against the NHS nurses and the poorest of us from getting these things too. They are utterly shameless in denying children food during this very difficult time, yet continue to benefit from the privileges of their office.”
The Yorkshire Evening Post described the moves as “shameful”, with 35,000 children in Leeds living on the breadline.
Glimmer of hope
In a glimmer of hope, scores of businesses across England backed Marcus Rashford’s campaign and stepped in to offer free school meals to vulnerable kids during half-term.
Hospitality businesses, local councils, shops, cafes and schools from Hammersmith to Hexham have all pledged support for Rashford.
Most are offering to provide free packed lunches for kids and families struggling across half-term.
“Blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term,” he wrote on Twitter. ”Selflessness, togetherness, this is the England I know.”