Milton Keynes two MPs set to be condemned over their vote against free school meals

MK Council is being urged to condemn the city's two MPs for voting against extending free school meals into the holidays.

Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 5:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 5:30 pm

Lib Dems are asking MK Council to take an official stand against Tories Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt to register disapproval of their decision.

They group has put a motion into full council next week and it is highly likely it will be agreed.

Both Mr Everitt and Mr Stewart voted again the holiday free meal scheme in parliament on October 21. This prompted organisations and businesses all over the city to donate free meals to ensure local children in need did not go hungry over the half term break.

MPs Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt

The MK Community Foundation found recently that an estimated 10,900 (17.7 oer cent) of children are living in poverty in the city, and some areas of Milton Keynes show child poverty rates as high as 32 per cent.

The government have since U-turned on its decision and are investing in the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. They are also extending the Holiday Activities and Food programme to the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays next year.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Jane Carr, chair of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, said: “The U-turn is welcome news, but there are still two glaring issues here. Firstly, it remains that our MPs voted against the free school meals extension back in October.”

“Numbers from the spring showed that 7,269 children in Milton Keynes were eligible for free school meals. When our MPs voted last month, they either chose to ignore this, or they simply did not care. They said that Universal Credit is the best way to support vulnerable families, but we know this system is incredibly flawed.”

“Secondly, the extension of these schemes is only a temporary solution. The government has a duty to vulnerable children, and by only extending the Holiday Activities and Food programme to Christmas 2021, they are neglecting that duty.”

“This is why our motion asks Cabinet to lobby our MPs and the government to put in place a permanent solution to tackle hunger over the holidays.”

The Newport Pagnell South councillor added: “I hope that all councillors support this motion next week, so we can work together to make sure that no child in Milton Keynes ever goes hungry.”