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Liberal Democrats Call on Derbyshire County Council to do the Right Thing

October 28, 2020 8:19 PM

hungry child

Derbyshire's Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr Beth Atkins, has put forward a proposal that Derbyshire County Council should introduce free school meals for the County's children during school holidays, along the lines called for in the national campaign by England footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Lib Dem proposal will be voted on at the December meeting of the County Council and Beth is hopeful that all Labour Councillors and local caring Conservatives will back it.

Beth says ' Before becoming a Councillor, I worked as a teacher in underprivileged areas of East Manchester and Salford and I am very well aware that hungry children struggle to pay proper attention to their lessons. This problem continues during school holidays, when many of them are trying to prepare for exams.

'Our County Council must play its full part in ensuring our children get the best out of their education.'

The proposed motion for the December Full Council Meeting of Derbyshire County Council is as follows:

This Council recognises the great burden placed on underprivileged families - especially in the current troubling times - and fully supports the efforts of Marcus Rashford MBE to persuade the Government to introduce free school meal vouchers for use by children during school holidays.

This Council further expresses its regret that the House of Commons recently turned down a motion to introduce free school meal holiday vouchers.

Bearing in mind the overwhelming need for this measure, backed by massive public support, this Council moves to set up its own free school meals holiday vouchers scheme without delay

Proposer Cllr Beth Atkins

Seconder Cllr Barry Bingham

Notes

In England, children living in households on income-related benefits (such as universal credit) are eligible for free school meals, as long as their annual household income does not exceed £7,400 after tax, not including welfare payments. If a child is eligible, their parent or guardian can claim at any age - from pre-school to further education.

In England and Scotland, all infant state school pupils (those in Reception and in Years 1 and 2) can get free school meals during term time - regardless of their household income.

As of January 2020, excluding year groups where eligibility is universal, 1.4m children qualify for free school meals or 17.3% of the student population.