On Monday in the Argus newspaper here in Sussex I had written a piece called “Issues we need to tackle to help our children” and it was repeated in this blog. The content included a focus from during the Prime Minister Questions last Wednesday when the Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham, Munira Wilson asked a question which ended with the call “will the Prime Minister give him the best thanks possible by delivering free school meals for every child living in poverty?” The full response from Rishi Sunak was
We are supporting almost 2 million children with free school meals. We also, last year, invested hundreds of millions of pounds in the new holiday activities and food programme, which is broadening that support through the holidays for those kids who need it, on top of our work to roll out breakfast clubs across the country.
As I responded a couple of days ago “Clearly 2 million children is a significant number of people and families but it needs to be clarified if it covers all of the children who need that assistance which are at School.” and on the following day the Labour MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana set out a document which due to the way that these elements need to be formed, five more MPs need to endorse it. The five MPs who all did so on the same day included Munira Wilson and our local MP Caroline Lucas who is the Green Party MP. The other three people who endorsed it are Labour MPs. On the following day another 18 MPs have endorsed the document and it is possible that the number could increase significantly if the other MPs are inspired and perhaps persuaded by their constituents. The document and list of supporters can be obtained from here and the text of the document follows. If you agree with this please consider asking your MP to endorse it. Clearly if as these people agree there are 3.9 million plus potentially another 0.5 million children need support, that is significantly more than the 2 million that the Prime Minister has suggested.
Free School Meals For All campaign
That this House notes that 3.9 million children are growing up in poverty and that the cost of living crisis is estimated to push another 500,000 children into poverty; recognises that free school meals ensure millions of children get a hot, healthy meal each day, but that as millions of families struggle with the cost of living crisis, more children are being forced to learn on empty stomachs, with restrictive eligibility, complicated registration and stigma built into the means-tested system; welcomes campaigning to extend free school meals, including those led by the National Education Union, the Daily Mirror and the Food Foundation; and calls on the Government to extend free school meals to all primary school children in state schools in England, as proposed by the Free School Meals for All Bill, formally known as the Free School Meals (Primary Schools) Bill.