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Labour group leader Paul Peacock appeals to Newark and Sherwood District Council to deliver holiday free school meal voucher scheme

The leader of the Labour Group on Newark and Sherwood District Council has appealed for free meals to be made available across the district to those who need it during the school holidays.

Mr Paul Peacock has written to the council's chief executive, Mr John Robinson, and leader Mr David Lloyd asking for the council to step in and deliver a scheme.

It follows a vote in Parliament ­— who sparked a huge national backlash ­— against extending the holiday free school meal voucher scheme until Easter 2021.

Paul Peacock (37068915)
Paul Peacock (37068915)

Mr Peacock said: "The decision by Conservative MPs in Westminster to not support the holiday free school meal voucher scheme is very disappointing and it is clear from the reaction of the public and the mood locally and nationally that the Government have got this issue very wrong.

"I hope and implore the government to make a u-turn and re-instate the scheme. The UK is an extremely rich country and in an economic and health crisis the UK can and should afford to see fit that no child goes hungry.

"I am heartened by the reaction of communities across the district with people from all sectors pledging to help vulnerable families and they are a credit to us.

"Hundreds of volunteers are already collecting and distributing food and meals across the district. This cannot, however, guarantee that no child will be left behind.

"I have written to the chief executive and the leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council to ask if our council can step in and ensure that the holiday free school meal voucher scheme is made available to the thousands of children across our district who are entitled to free school meals through the half-term and the Christmas holiday period.

"The Labour Group are happy to work with council leaders in this endeavour.

"Right across the country local authorities led by all parties are working together and committing to maintaining the voucher scheme ­— it is absolutely the right thing to do."

Newark and Sherwood MPs Robert Jenrick and Mark Spencer were among the Conservative MPs who helped defeat the Labour motion in Parliament by 322 votes to 261.

The motion followed an appeal by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to extend the free school meals scheme as part of his campaign to end child hunger.

The Government said it was already supporting families through extra money for Universal Credit and £63m to local councils to help people struggling with essentials.

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