2,300 kids in North Herts set to benefit after free school meal scheme announced
PUBLISHED: 14:28 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:37 16 June 2020
More than 2,000 children in North Hertfordshire are set to benefit from the government’s decision to extend the free school meals scheme over the summer.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the news earlier today, after Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford led the campaign for the scheme to be extended.
According to the BBC, a new £120 million COVID Summer Food Fund has been announced – ensuring those children most in need in our district will have access to meals across the summer break.
Hertfordshire County Councillor Judi Billing, who wrote to Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami to ask for his support on the extension of the scheme, says 2,300 children in North Hertfordshire will be able to take advantage of the scheme.
Eligible families will be able to claim a one–off food voucher, worth £15 a week for six weeks, which can be spent in supermarkets.
Commenting on the government’s decision, Rashford tweeted: “I don’t even know what to say.
“Just look at what we can do when we come together. THIS is England in 2020.”
MP for North East Hertfordshire Sir Oliver Heald he was “delighted” when he heard the news.
Sir Oliver said: “I am delighted that there will be a COVID Summer Food Fund for children who receive free school meals.
“I had pressed for this in the Conservative Party. I particularly pay tribute to Man Utd and England footballer Marcus Rashford, who is a fine role model anyway and who campaigned for this and got his goal.”
Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour’s shadow education secretary, responding to the government U-turn on funding free school meals, said:“This is a welcome U-turn from the government and a victory for the 1.3 million children who were at risk of going hungry this summer.
“It is thanks to the amazing work of Marcus Rashford and campaigners that the government has had no choice but to reverse their decision.
“The government must now confirm that this new money will be for the direct provision of free school meals to all eligible children.”
Mr Afolami has been contacted for comment on the government’s decision.
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