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Thursday, October 22, 2020

MP explains why he voted against free school meals extension

* Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes.

Clwyd South Conservative MP Simon Baynes has sent a statement to llanblogger explaining why he voted against the move by Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals over the half term break during a House of Commons debate yesterday evening.

The footballer, who is leading a campaign on child hunger, urged MPs to "unite" and stop being influenced by "political affiliation".

MPs eventually rejected the Labour motion for an extension by 322 votes to 261.

Amongst them was Simon Baynes who has told llanblogger: "Yesterday there was an Opposition Day debate on extending the provision of school meals in England over the school holidays. 

"It did not relate to Wales as this is a devolved responsibility of the Welsh Government. The vote was not binding, nor was it a proposed law.

"The reason for my vote was because Free School Meals have always been a school provision while students are in school. 

"In England it was rightly extended back in March 2020 to the start of September 2020 as the overwhelming majority of students were told not to come into school. 

"Therefore it was appropriate that Free School Meals via vouchers were given to students. In total £380m of vouchers were redeemed in supermarkets and elsewhere over that time.

"Students, though, are now back in school and those eligible for Free School Meals in England are getting that provision once again in their school setting. 

"This is a really positive policy which has my full support. I do not feel, however, that extending Free School Meals over the school holidays is the proper long term solution to tackling food inequality and food poverty in this country and I am working with colleagues across the House of Commons for a long term, sustainable solution. 

"The best long term approach lies in measures such as the UK government’s recent increase in funding to Universal Credit of £9.3bn or an average increase per household of £1,040 per year and the additional £63m given by the government to English Local Authorities in funding to get food, essentials and meals to those most in need, both young and old, which was praised by the Trussell Trust."

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