More councils in Britain are offering food assistance to struggling families during the half-semester holiday amid public discomfort over the government’s refusal to offer assistance and support grows for footballers Marcus Rashfordcampaign
At least 78 councils had announced on Sunday evening that they would activate a half-hour meal scheme, either by offering food vouchers or providing additional financial and logistical support to local food banks and charities.
The majority of councils offering assistance are run by the Labor Party, including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and some areas of London, with a small number of Conservative-run councils violating ratings on the matter.
The Tory-run Staffordshire county council, which includes South Staffordshire constituency education secretary Gavin Williamson, said it would provide part-time assistance to up to 18,000 children, joining Hillingdon – in the Boris Johnson constituency – Medway, and Kensington & Chelsea, all Conservative – Run .
Staffordshire cabinet member for children and youth, Mark Sutton, said: “We know that times are tough for many families right now, with increasing pressure on household budgets, so we want to help those in greater need to ensure that their children are children can get proper food during the holidays. “
However, some Conservative-run councils say they will not offer any assistance within half a year beyond existing local safety net schemes either because they have no money or because it is not their role to provide food support.
The leader of the Tory board of Walsall, Mike Bird, said: “Unfortunately, I have to be the gatekeeper for the Walsall council because we haven’t got the money yet … When you keep going to the well and fetching water, it dries up.”
Jonathan Nunn, the Tory leader of the Northampton council, said: “We have considered it as a board but the costs will be a barrier for the board to fund it … At the moment we have no plans to lobby the government so it will probably remain as is. We are glad people others step in and help those who need it. “
Others emerged ideologically against the intervening council. Responding Friday on Twitter to a resident who said it was embarrassing for the government to pay a consultant £ 7,000 a day but not feed poor children, Rushmoor’s Tory board leader, David Clifford, answer: “What’s embarrassing is government day instead of parents feeding their kids – if I need, I’ll go to our food bank – it works really well and isn’t run by the government.”
This issue seems to divide the city’s Conservatives: members of the opposition council in Sutton urgent a Liberal Democrat-controlled council to provide half-semester meals for children who receive it at school, and the North Tyneside branch of the Conservative party praise the local Labor Party-run council to take similar action.
Hampshire’s conservatively-run county council says that while it oversees schools and children’s services, the responsibility of helping families in distress during half a semester rests with the county council’s responsibility. Tory-run Kent also said he would not offer extra support.
Wandsworth, which is controlled by the Conservatives, was questioned by a local charity for limiting its half-hour aid package to children receiving social work support. Wandsworth food bank tweeted: “So far this scheme has only helped children with social workers. That doesn’t help all the 5,700+ Wandsworth kids who receive free school meals. “
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