Tory MPs face barrage of criticism after voting to let over a million children ‘go hungry’

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Opposition figures have savaged the government after Tory MPs voted against footballer Marcus Rashford’s bid to have free school meals for eligible children extended through the coming holidays.

Labour’s motion, which called for the scheme to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021, was defeated by 261 votes to 322.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the Conservatives had voted to let the more than 1.4 million children eligible for free school meals go hungry through the holidays.

“Tonight I voted to feed our country’s vulnerable and needy children. The Tories voted to let them go hungry,” she tweeted, adding: “I voted for workers facing hardship in areas under lockdown to get 80% of their incomes. The Tories voted against it. That’s all you need to know.”

Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome also attacked the Conservatives.

“I don’t know how the 322 Tory MPs are sleeping tonight. Because I can’t, knowing that 1.4 million children like Cameron will go hungry this Christmas,” she said, referring to a boy featured in a documentary she shared.

She added: “Rishi Sunak spent £500m on the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme. It costs around £20m to provide free school meals for a week. There is money for half-price Nando’s but there’s no money to feed children?”

The Liberal Democrats’ health and social care spokeswoman Munira Wilson tweeted: “It would be hugely unjust for this Govt to allow children to go hungry this winter, particularly in the middle of a pandemic. I urged the Govt to follow the lead of Lib Dem Edu Minister Kirsty Williams in Wales by extending #FreeSchoolMeals over the school holidays.”

Labour’s Richard Burgon said the Tories had shown they did not care that children would go hungry.

“I’m disgusted by what’s just happened in Parliament,” he tweeted. “Tory MPs just voted down extending free school meals over the Christmas holiday. They know this will mean 1 million kids going hungry. They just don’t care. A sickening display of Tory contempt for people in our communities.”

Some Conservatives, however, defended the decision.

Nottingham MP Ben Bradley engaged in a Twitter exchange with Rashford, writing: “Gov has lots of responsibilities: supporting the vulnerable, helping people to help themselves, balancing the books.

“Not as simple as you to make out Marcus. Extending FSM to sch hols passes responsibility for feeding kids away from parents, to the State. It increases dependency.”

Rashford tweeted back: “Ben, the economy already pays a high price for child hunger. If children were fed properly you would increase educational attainment and boost life chances. @KelloggsUKI calculated we would spend at least £5.2M a year on lost teaching hours as teachers are caring for hungry kids.

“And for a more humane response, since March, 32% of families have suffered a drop in income. Nearly 1 million have fallen off the payroll. This is not dependency, this a cry for help. There are no jobs!! 250% increase in food poverty and rising. Nobody said this was simple…”

Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said Britain had “reached a low point if in the midst of a pandemic we decide we can’t make sure children in the lowest income families have a nutritious meal in the middle of the day”.

“Tonight’s vote means more children going without and more desperately anxious parents – just as a coronavirus winter approaches,” Garnham was quoted as saying in the Mirror.

“In short it ducks our moral responsibility to protect the country’s most vulnerable children.

“It will not sit well with all those people from many walks of life who back Marcus Rashford because they do not want child poverty to be ignored any longer.”

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  • Show Comments
    1. Has Ben Bradley let the cat out of the bag when admits the Government has the responsibility of ‘ helping people to help themselves…’ to tax pounds, national utilities, prison funding, road building funds, NHS finances and auxiliary services, local services, education revenues (via public school tax breaks and access to official funding). All of which are funded by the direct and indirect taxes that have become necessary since we discovered in the mid-1960s the £500 million deficit left by the Tories’ decade and a half in power. A party who even at the end proposed that ‘we had never had it so good’. It’s a myth that Labour before Noo Labour ‘fucked up the economy. Do you think that the CIA only funds illusory opposition movements in South America? The Tory war chest in 1978 was massive, and North Sea oil was about to go on line.

    2. As usual the guys above have put it perfectly and much better than i can, however I’m still gonna rant !!!

      What the f*ck do these tories think they are doing ? Their arrogance is mind blowing, they think they are entitled to subsidised food and drink 24hrs a day, they think they deserve the pay rise they awarded themselves, they think they don’t need to pay tax like the rest of us and can put their cash in tax havens, and the list goes on.

      The fact that children are going hungry in this country shames us all and I’m afraid that they have only just started on the poor the sick and the disabled. These people know no shame they have no compassion they hate anything public and WILL privatise the complete NHS as soon as they can.

      Here’s an idea for you how about we tax Serco and all the other private companies that have received millions and millions of public money for delivering fu*k all ? All the contracts given to investment brokers for providing PPE for the nhs that was garbage or never turned up ! It’s a blatant cash for the boys whilst the people who actually pay that cash via tax get F all

      Before the rise of fake news, fake politicians and fake tories, any decent MP would have resigned for all the co*k ups and thefts that they have carried out, but no more my friends, the MSM stenographers will ride to the rescue of the greedy few.

      Rant over sorry

    3. It’s worth recording that this isn’t the government withdrawing something that a previous government introduced. It’s the government not extending a scheme that they themselves introduced.

      As far as I’m aware there were no free “school” meals during holidays when Labour were in power for 13 years 1997-2010, nor indeed under any previous Labour government.

        1. Child poverty rates have hovered between 27% and 33% between 1997 and 2010. Child poverty isn’t a new problem, but Labour didn’t seem to find it necessary to help to solve it with free meals during the holidays. There are indeed plenty of people whose circumstances have dramatically changed this year; there are also plenty whose circumstances haven’t materially changed. Dare I say, for example, those who weren’t working in the first place, hospital porters and cleaners, dustmen, supermarket workers, workers in PPE factories…..

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