Marcus Rashford’s petition to end child food poverty by making free school meals available during holidays and half-terms has more than 1,000,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Despite heavy pressure from local residents, on October 21, Winchester MP Steve Brine and Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond voted against making food vouchers available to over a million children who need them during half-term and the Christmas holidays.
Some local councils like Lib Dem led Portsmouth City Council immediately stepped in to fund emergency food support over half-term and food vouchers over the Christmas holidays - but the Conservatives running Hampshire County Council decided not to.
Here in Winchester, the Lib Dem led City Council worked with the Winchester Basics Bank and Meon Valley Food Bank, local schools and charities in the run-up to half-term to make sure food packages would be available for local families who need them. Local charities, businesses and residents have also rushed to plug the gap with fantastic local schemes.
But because Hampshire County Council is the only organisation that knows how many children in each school qualify for free school meals, they’re the only ones who could provide vouchers to parents via local schools when the Government won’t help. They were embarrassed into a U-turn on Monday of half-term to follow councils like Winchester and Portsmouth in also helping local charities - but only for half-term - and still haven't said they will provide vouchers over the Christmas holidays.
Please back our petition to get Hampshire to act if the Government won’t back down.
If the Conservative Government won’t back down and support free school meals to the children who need them during holidays and half-terms, we call upon Hampshire County Council to step up and fill the gap
We will include your name and address when submitting and sharing the petition with Hampshire County Council.