Sat, 24 Oct 2020
A petition has been launched calling on West Berkshire Council to help extend free school meals in the district over Christmas.
The bid follows Conservative MPs voting against a motion calling to extend free school meals over the school holidays until next Easter.
Newbury MP Laura Farris voted against the motion.
The West Berkshire and Newbury Liberal Democrats have launched a petition calling on West Berkshire Council to debate funding these meals locally, to ensure that the 3,539 children currently on Free School Meals in West Berkshire don't go hungry this Christmas.
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on West Berkshire Council Lee Dillon (Thatcham North East) said: “By refusing to vote to support the extension of free school meals, Laura Farris is condemning children and their families to experience a harsh and difficult Christmas.
"We can do something about that on a local level. We have launched our petition for the allocation of council funds to plug the gaping hole left by our MP.
“We cannot simply stand by and watch this unravel. We are taking the action needed to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
"It is an absolute travesty for children to go hungry at any time of year, but at Christmas, a time of goodwill, we need to make a difference. We can and will do better for the people of West Berkshire. Families are struggling and we are in a position to make a difference. Let’s work together to get support to those who need it most.”
The petition can be signed here.
Mrs Farris said she voted against the motion as children were now back in school and receiving free school meals during term time.
Secondly, Mrs Farris said that other sources were available that she said would provide more support to struggling families beyond free school meal vouchers.
She said that the uplift to Universal Credit of £20 per week (£1040 per year) had also influenced her decision.
Mr Dillon has also submitted an open letter to the West Berkshire Council leadership, calling for a local extension of the free school meal scheme.