‘Not a long-term solution’ - MP defends vote against free school meal extension
- Credit: Archant
People in a Suffolk town feel children will suffer this holiday after their MP voted against the extension of free school meals.
Conservative MP for Waveney Peter Aldous, alongside all of the area’s other Conservative MPs, voted against extending free school meals for children in the school holidays.
Mr Aldous has defended his position, arguing it offers no long-term solutions to tackling poverty in Lowestoft.
Parents like Victoria Isbell, 38, who lives in Lowestoft with her two children Evangeline, six and Edward, three, wishes Mr Aldous had supported the extension of the free school meal scheme.
She said; “We don’t receive free school meals, other than universal school meals for my six year old, but I agree with the campaign to prolong the free school meal offer to those entitled to it until next year, as was proposed.
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“Children shouldn’t go hungry and the government and this country can afford it.
“I disagree with those that say children shouldn’t receive these meals and claim parents are spending elsewhere, as children shouldn’t be made to suffer at the fault of anyone, be it their parents or the government’s ‘priorities’.
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“I feel quite angry that yet again our MP has voted to toe the party line, rather than consider his own constituents.”
Another mother, Gemma Parker, said while there is support for parents struggling, more needs to be done.
She said: “I want to see schools come together and offer more personal help to families struggling.
“It’s a sad reality, a lot of parents won’t ask for help for fear of being reported to social care.”
When asked why he voted against extending free school meals into the school holidays, Mr Aldous argued the vote in parliament offered no long term solutions to tackling poverty in Lowestoft.
He said: “The motion yesterday did not offer a long-term solution to the problem of child poverty and the Government are taking steps to ensure that there is a responsive and effective welfare system that will enable families to manage their household budgets.
“There is still work to be done on this and I’m lobbying Government and feeding back to them the concerns that constituents are bringing to my attention.”