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Sport PM plans to pour millions into holiday clubs amid school meals row

02:20  27 october  2020
02:20  27 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Boris Johnson is preparing to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into holiday clubs in an attempt to defuse the row over free school meals . It is estimated this would allow an extra 1.1 million children to take part at a cost of £200 million . Mr Sunak is also understood to be ‘open’ to the idea of

More than half-a- million people have demanded an end for subsidised food and drink for MPs as the row over free school meals continues. "Many MPs are pushing for free school meals to be extended into the school holidays , and I applaud them. But It’s time for the government to listen to

a man wearing a blue hat: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Boris Johnson is preparing to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into holiday clubs in an attempt to defuse the row over free school meals.

The Prime Minister yesterday insisted the Government will ‘do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry’.

But he resisted calls to perform a U-turn over his refusal to extend free school meals for children in England over the Christmas holiday.

a person wearing a blue hat: The Prime Minister yesterday insisted the Government will ‘do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry’ © Provided by Daily Mail The Prime Minister yesterday insisted the Government will ‘do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry’

As pressure continued to pile on the Government to act, a petition from footballer Marcus Rashford yesterday exceeded more than 900,000 signatures.

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The PM is facing the prospect of Tory revolt unless he rethinks his refusal to extend free school meals over the holidays - as a petition by Premier League Tory MPs today threatened to join a fresh Labour bid to force a government U-turn on free school meals amid warnings Boris Johnson has

The row over extending free school meals over the school holidays has continued into its second week. The UK government has defended not extending the scheme over the half-term holiday . But how many pupils can claim free school meals , and which parts of the country have the highest rates?

On a visit to a hospital in Reading, Mr Johnson said it was right that Universal Credit had been increased by £20 a week while £63million has been provided to local authorities to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials.

Downing Street signalled Chancellor Rishi Sunak could announce extra support next month in the spending review.

The Mail understands one proposal under consideration is the nationwide rollout of a scheme to put on holiday clubs for disadvantaged children.

Under a pilot that ran in 17 areas this summer, 50,000 pupils who usually receive free school meals took part in the programme, which offers outdoor activities and a hot meal.

In a Government-commissioned report earlier this year, Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, recommended that the scheme be available across England, with eligibility extended to all families in receipt of Universal Credit.

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'They are offering free school dinners during half term and providing both cold and hot reheatable food packages for those in need. Last week, Conservative MPs rejected a Labour motion calling for an extension of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021 by 322 votes to 261.

Elsewhere in the free school meals row 'In the meantime, I respectfully ask you to request an apology from Mr Bradley to the millions of children Insiders hint the government is looking into a partial U-turn after the backlash, with children potentially being given food at holiday activity clubs . Announcing plans for food vouchers via the Co-op, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham

a little girl sitting on a table: The Mail understands one proposal under consideration is the nationwide rollout of a scheme to put on holiday clubs for disadvantaged children. Slice: Mila, one, eats free pizza © Provided by Daily Mail The Mail understands one proposal under consideration is the nationwide rollout of a scheme to put on holiday clubs for disadvantaged children. Slice: Mila, one, eats free pizza

It is estimated this would allow an extra 1.1million children to take part at a cost of £200million. Mr Sunak is also understood to be ‘open’ to the idea of extending the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit, which is due to finish in April.

Tory former minister George Freeman yesterday asked the Government to ‘accept we misjudged the mood’ and ‘got it wrong’ last week by opposing a Labour motion to provide free school meals during the October half term.

In a statement on Twitter, he wrote: ‘With hindsight I think that was a mistake... last week’s tribal parliamentary politics let down a nation looking for a spirit of joint working for the common good.’


Video: "Johnson looks to defuse Tory rebellion over free school meals" (Evening Standard)

'I remember going to bed with hunger pains'

  'I remember going to bed with hunger pains' A woman who grew up in food poverty and relied on free school meals says "hunger doesn't go" in the holidays."I would eat spaghetti hoops cold out of the tin.

The public response is heartening. But why are so many falling into such desperate situations? Britain needs a plan of action, says Child poverty and hunger are not simple problems and, as heartening as the efforts of individuals, local businesses and organisations to plug the deficit of school meals this

MPs voted against extending free school meals (Image: GETTY). Boris Johnson leaving Number Ten (Image: GETTY). "I was so angry that some MPs had rejected the chance in parliament and Marcus Rashford's campaign, to extend free school meals into the school holiday .

The Prime Minister yesterday defended his handling of the row.

Speaking at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital, he said: ‘We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this Government – and you are not going to see that.’

Mr Johnson said he had not spoken to Mr Rashford since June ‘but what he is doing is terrific’.

The Prime Minister said the Government is ‘uplifting Universal Credit by £1,000’ and added: ‘I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger, it is there, we have to deal with it. The debate is how do you deal with it.’

But even Tory councils said the £63million received from central Government in June is not proving to be enough to cover the cost of providing holiday meals.

Izzi Seccombe, the Conservative leader of Warwickshire County Council – which is paying for meals over half term and Christmas – said: ‘We’ve spent that money, over half a million pounds has been spent already.’

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it would be ‘tight’ for local authorities to afford the support and added: ‘We are going to be funding it ourselves now... so we will be trying to find it from other sources.’

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Three hundred million primary school children who depend on school meals are missing out due to closures triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the World Food Programme The agency said it was looking into alternative ways of providing children out of school with food, including take-home meals .

While meal plans are often mandatory for freshman, there are usually a variety of options to choose from, some more cost-effective than others. Brochures and websites for colleges may use terms that a meal plan rookie won’t recognize, and each school will likely have a different combination of options.

Marcus Rashford posing for the camera: As pressure continued to pile on the Government to act, a petition from footballer Marcus Rashford yesterday exceeded more than 900,000 signatures © Provided by Daily Mail As pressure continued to pile on the Government to act, a petition from footballer Marcus Rashford yesterday exceeded more than 900,000 signatures

But, across the country, kind businesses have stepped in to help out struggling families.

Yesterday, eight-year-old Poppy could not contain her excitement as she picked up her Hawaiian pizza from a pub offering free food during half term.

Her mother, Simone Barks, 28, had taken her to The Shortlands Tavern in Bromley, south-east London, along with her brother Stanley, seven, and one-year-old sister Mila.

The pub is one of many which have volunteered to feed hungry children, from small businesses to fast food giant McDonald’s.

Miss Barks, a former dinner lady who lost her job due to the pandemic, said: ‘I just couldn’t believe how kind businesses have been to support families like us.

‘This half term has been such a struggle, I rely a lot on free school meals for the kids.’

Meanwhile, Tory MPs yesterday said they had received death threats and had their offices vandalised following last week’s vote.

Stuart Anderson, MP for Wolverhampton South West, said the word ‘scum’ was sprayed on a window at his office.

In a statement the father-of-five said: ‘I’ve had threats against me, threats against my family, and my staff have been intimidated.

Government food tsar says PM must do more to tackle food poverty

  Government food tsar says PM must do more to tackle food poverty Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, said the issue of families not having enough to eat is 'serious' and is 'going to get worse' because of rising unemployment. © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo He said by the end of the year there will be large numbers of people who 'are going to struggle to feed their family' because of the impact of the coronavirus crisis as he warned the 'Government really must act'.

‘I accept political arguments but you should not impact people’s safety by targeted harassment and vandalism.’

BBC sports award snub for Rashford?

Marcus Rashford is unlikely to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year despite the fact that his tireless campaigning has secured free meals for more than a million children this year.

Insiders have said that the England and Manchester United footballer is not expected to make the shortlist due to his less significant ‘sporting achievements’ over the last year.

Rashford was named odds-on favourite to win by bookmakers only last week. A panel of judges is due to meet next month to finalise the shortlist, which usually contains six nominees.

The panel sets out to recognise ‘UK sporting achievements on the national and or international stage’. The award will be handed out during a televised ceremony on 20 December.

Instead, it is understand Rashford will be in the running for the Helen Rollason Award for ‘outstanding achievement in the face of adversity’.

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MARCUS RASHFORD writes about free school meals campaign .
Believe me, I have felt no greater pride than when I witnessed people answering my call and offering help and services to support our most vulnerable children. I have stood in awe of you all, especially business owners who have opened their kitchens. These companies have been the hardest hit by the pandemic but in the true spirit of community, they've found something to give.

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This is interesting!