Banbury’s MP defends voting position saying welfare system is a better option
“The best way to make this happen is not through schools but through the welfare system. An extra £9bn has been put into it to help”
Banbury’s MP has responded to earlier criticisms of her position in last night’s Parliamentary vote to extend the free school meals scheme through the school holidays. Victoria Prentis joined other Conservative politicians voting against the Labour led proposal, which saw the idea defeated.
Earlier today local Labour Councillor Sean Woodcock publicly criticised Mrs Prentis’ position saying: “our Member of Parliament has chosen to prioritise this incompetent government over children who are going hungry.”
Mrs Prentis has defended her position. She says rather than extending the free school meals scheme there are other ways to help people. Mrs Prentis said: “The best way to make this happen is not through schools but through the welfare system. An extra £9bn has been put into it to help.
“Local authorities know who are struggling. It is exactly why the Government set up a specific fund of £63 million in June for local authorities to help those most in need to afford food and other essentials.”
The Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford last week launched an online petition which included support for extending the free school meals scheme. The move was supported by the Labour Party, which put forward a motion to extend the scheme over holidays until Easter 2021. It was rejected last night by 322 to 261 votes.
This is the full statement by Mrs Prentis:
“The last few months have highlighted to everybody the importance of access to food. I am not blind to the challenges many children and families are currently facing. I chaired the Taskforce for the Vulnerable throughout the pandemic to coordinate our response and help ensure those most in need could access food and other essential supplies.
“Schools have worked tirelessly during the pandemic. It is neither reasonable nor sustainable to ask them to continue to provide food for pupils outside of term time. Free school meals have only ever been meant for eligible pupils during term-time. It is important that these arrangements return.
“It is critical that families get the support they need. The best way to make this happen is not through schools but through the welfare system. An extra £9bn has been put into it to help. Local authorities know who are struggling. It is exactly why the Government set up a specific fund of £63 million in June for local authorities to help those most in need to afford food and other essentials. When I spoke to the Trussell Trust and Children’s Society less than a fortnight ago, they told me that the targeted fund was particularly useful and was reaching those who needed it most. I talk regularly to volunteer groups, food bank organisations and other redistribution charities, including FareShare who also received a large sum of Government money in May.
“I remain absolutely committed to ensuring that the right support is there for those who most need it so that we can get through this pandemic together.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam