Wokingham councilors urge MP to promote ‘permanent’ free school meals for students

CONSERVATIVE Councilors in the Borough of Wokingham have written to the Education Secretary asking him to make free school meals a permanent action for elementary school students.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) Chief John Halsall and Director of Children’s Services Cllr UllaKarin Clark wrote a joint letter to MP Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, asking that the option a permanent scheme of free school meals for primary-age children is granted, as the pandemic continues.

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The request follows the revelation that a large number of MPs, including Wokingham MP John Redwood, voted against direct funding of free school meals during school holidays during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Cllr Clark said: “The pandemic has demonstrated that there is a real need among large numbers of young children to receive appropriate nutritious meals.

“This is why the chef and I have written to the Secretary of State for Education asking that consideration be given to ensuring that all elementary school children have free school meals on a permanent basis.

Wokingham Borough Conservatives call for permanent school meals for all primary school students

“The Liberal Democrats’ motion would have asked us to do something that we have already done, and indeed we had gone much further than their motion suggested.”

The advisers also called for considering an increase in universal credit, as well as an extension of meals to students without recourse to public funds.

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Cllr Clark added: “The conservative administration of Wokingham Borough Council believes it is fair and appropriate for the government to ensure that no young child goes hungry.

“The use of 87% of the free school meal by reception, first and second year nationwide, clearly shows that there is a need.

“For this reason, we have asked the Ministry of Education to ensure that all primary school children have free school meals at all times. ”

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