Tory free school meal vote ‘unforgiveable’ says Bradford Council leader

BRADFORD Council’s leader Susan Hinchcliffe has torn into the Government for its “shocking and unforgiveable” decision to deny support during half-term to children on free school meals.

Councillor Hinchcliffe, leader of the district’s Labour run Council, condemned the decision by the Conservative Government to oppose the motion to provide food vouchers during schools holidays while the Coronavirus pandemic is ongoing.

Her condemnation has also been backed up by Bradford East MP Imran Hussain.

All but five Conservative MPs voted against the motion, which was brought following the campaign by England footballer Marcus Rashford MBE.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said: “The fact that a Tory Government rejects a plea to fund meals for children in disadvantaged areas is shocking and unforgiveable.

“We’ve had to step in to make sure that no child will go hungry this half-term by funding hot meals for children and families who need them.

“Over 20,000 children in the district have free school meals and are depending on them at this time of national pandemic.

“The decision that the Tory MPs made on Wednesday to reject the motion to feed disadvantaged children during the school holidays just shows how out of touch they are with communities.

“It smacks of an uncaring Government that they neglect the needs of the most vulnerable in society.  Here in Bradford Labour Group we will not let our families down.”

Mr Hussain, who has represented Bradford East for Labour since 2015, added: “Free School Meals support our most vulnerable children from some of our poorest families.

“They are a vital lifeline for children who would otherwise go hungry. Yet the Government voted down Labour’s proposals earlier this week to extend the scheme throughout the school holidays.

“I’ve therefore been in discussions with the Leader of Bradford Council to ensure that Bradford Council steps up where this Tory Government has stepped back, and I’m delighted that Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe will put in place a scheme to ensure that no vulnerable child goes hungry over the school holidays next week.”

Bradford Council announced tonight it is donating £20,000 to food banks and helping community groups to provide more than 10,000 meals during half term to the district’s most disadvantaged families.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News