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MPs reject extension of Free School Meals over half-term in England

A motion to provide 1.4 million children eligible for Free School Meals in England with provision during the half-term and forthcoming holidays until Easter 2021 has been rejected by MPs.

MPs voted to reject Labour’s motion by 322 votes to 261 on grounds that poor families were gaining ample support through the benefit system. Five Tory MPs rebelled against the government to support extending free school meals.

While the government has ruled out extending support over half-term and beyond in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all confirmed they will offer food support for disadvantaged children until next spring.

Earlier this year, when schools were closed during the spring lockdown, families were issued with vouchers, which continued through the summer holidays after the footballer Marcus Rashford pushed the government to U-turn.

Following the result of the vote, Marcus Rashford, who is spearheading the #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign, issued a statement saying; “We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers – our views are being clouded by political affiliation.”

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