Free school meals pledged over half-term, as Council steps in where Government has failed

City of York Council has today committed to support hungry children failed by the government's decision not to fund school meals through the half-term school holidays.

Earlier this week saw 322 MPs vote against providing funding to the poorest families over the half term and upcoming holidays, dismissing cross-party calls to not let children go hungry this winter.


City of York council has today pledged £43,000 of emergency funding to continue supporting 2850 children and young people eligible for free school meals during the half-term week, with a plan to be brought forward for future holidays. The Council will work with schools and communities to provide £15 vouchers per child, per week to all who are eligible for free school meals.

This follows the impassioned campaign led by footballer Marcus Rashford, who has used his platform to call for the government to act now to end child food poverty across the country.

Earlier last week also saw the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams secure £11 million to deliver free school meal provision for disadvantaged children in Wales for all school holidays until at least Easter 2021.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of City of York Council, commented:

“Whilst it is clear after what happened this week that the government are willing to stand by and do nothing whilst vulnerable children go hungry, as a council we are not. With so many families across the city facing financial hardship, especially as we enter the winter months, the Council has made a commitment today to step in where the Government has failed.

“It should not be down to individual councils to patchwork this government’s failures. Despite facing major financial pressures, we continue to provide crucial support at what is such a challenging time for so many, as it is simply the right thing to do. No child should go hungry. We hope this support goes some way in providing support to families who are most in need.”

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