Letters: Poorer families could lose free school meals

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Re the debate and vote on Universal Credit, particularly Free School Lunches and Milk, and School and Early Years Finance (amendments relating to Universal Credit) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI, 2018, No 148).

As I understand it, in relation to the above mentioned motion that went before the commons on March 13, 2018, Conservative and DUP members voted in support of this and the other three motions on Universal Credit before the house at that time. T

his action by the government is likely to deny a great number of children from some of the poorest and most vulnerable backgrounds access to a much needed hot meal at school.

According to the Children’s Society around 14,200 school children will be affected in North Yorkshire, many of whom will be right here in your constituency, including in the borough of Scarborough, including, Whitby, the low pay capital of the country.

There has been widespread disappointment and anger at this move, not least because it comes at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is proudly proclaiming there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in relation to the Tory austerity program.

The above mentioned motion and subsequent vote did not apply to families in Northern Ireland.

Whilst I am grateful that school children in Northern Ireland will not miss out, I fear that the decision was taken for purely political reasons, ie to appease the DUP who are propping up a zombie government.

Ours is a constituency where the cost of living crisis is felt by so many, who under austerity have seen their wages stagnate and work become insecure, whilst housing costs rise and the weekly shop becomes more expensive.

I’m sure most reasonable people would expect the state to help children in families with only £7,400 per year in earned income to be properly fed at school.

Therefore I would urge our MP and his backbench colleagues to reconsider their position and lobby the government to overturn this cruel and punitive measure.

Hugo Fearnley

Brereton Lodge