Barnet’s Labour councillors are calling on Barnet Council to follow the lead of Labour-run Redbridge, Camden and Southwark Councils to provide meal vouchers to around 9,000 Free School Meal children to end holiday hunger, following a campaign led by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings has written to Barnet’s Council Leader to urge him to provide meals and/or vouchers to children entitled to Free School Meals for both the October and December school holidays. In his email he says:

“I am surprised and disappointed that having acknowledged that this was necessary during the summer that the Government are not funding this and the responsibility falls on local authorities but we must accept this responsibility in order to ensure the almost 9,000 Barnet children do not go hungry over these holidays to the detriment of the physical and mental well-being of poorer families. Given the urgency of the situation an immediate response is necessary, and I am certain you will do the right thing and ensure this happens.”

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said:

“This is a call to the Leader of the Council personally. I urge him to do the decent thing and end holiday hunger for our poorest and most vulnerable children.

“We were disappointed that not one of the three Barnet Conservative MPs broke the whip to vote for this much needed support, but we hope the Council has more compassion for those in need.

“As someone who benefited from free school meals and whose mother was a school dinner lady this is a cause close to my heart. It is wrong to allow children to go hungry.  The Barnet MPs have let local children and families down so Barnet Council must do the right thing and provide these meals.”

Barnet Labour spokesperson on Children’s Services, Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb said:

“After years of cuts to youth services and school funding, scrapping the Educational Maintenance Allowance and now the Government’s demand to scrap free travel for children, the last 10 years has been a terrible time to be a young person.

“We have to speak out for the future of our children, and tell the Government to reinstate real support and investment.”

 

Ends.

 

Notes:

  1. A copy of Cllr Rawlings’ email follows:

Dear Dan & John

I am asking for Barnet to follow the example of other London Boroughs to provide meals and/or vouchers to children entitled to Free School Meals for both the October and December school holidays. I am surprised and disappointed that having acknowledged that this was necessary during the summer that the Government are not funding this and the responsibility falls on local authorities but we must accept this responsibility in order to ensure the almost 9,000 Barnet children do not go hungry over these holidays to the detriment of the physical and mental well-being of poorer families. Given the urgency of the situation an immediate response is necessary, and I am certain you will do the right thing and ensure this happens.

Barry

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