School meals: Cabinet minister defends refusal to extend holiday scheme

Published:Sunday, 25 Oct 2020 12:10

School meals: Cabinet minister defends refusal to extend holiday scheme

The government’s decision not to extend free school meals for children in England into the half-term holiday has been defended by a cabinet minister.

Brandon Lewis praised footballer Marcus Rashford for his “phenomenal” campaign, but insisted providing help through councils was “the right way to do it”.

Pressure is mounting on the government to reverse its decision.

Several Tory MPs oppose the move and Labour want a new vote, saying: “It’s not too late to do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 paediatricians who work with young people saying England should follow Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in providing vouchers for meals during the holidays

The government extended free school meals to eligible children during the Easter holidays earlier this year and, after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, did the same for the summer holiday.

But this time it has refused to do so. The PM is facing calls to meet with 22-year-old Rashford to discuss his campaign.