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West Sussex Liberal Democrats Call on the County's Councils to Support the Provision of Free School Meals

October 26, 2020 9:26 PM

Child eating food at schoolCllr Kirsty Lord, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, has called on West Sussex County Council to ensure West Sussex children don't go hungry in the holidays.

In light of the decision by government last week not to support the provision of free school meals over the October half term, Cllr Lord has twice written to Cllr Nigel Jupp (Cabinet Member for Education) on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Group to ask that West Sussex County Council doesn't let children go hungry. Cllr Lord has been supported by other Liberal Democrats, including Cllr Adrian Moss at Chichester and Cllr Alison Bennett at Mid Sussex who have called on their district councils to work with WSCC to provide support for our families

Cllr Lord said "At a time of unprecedented health and economic crisis, it is appalling that the Conservative government including all but one of West Sussex's Conservative MPs have decided that they don't care if children go hungry over half term.

In the summer, the government spent £552m on the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme but cannot spend just £20m to ensure the poorest children in our country are fed this week.

I have called on the Conservative administration at WSCC to step in where the government did not and provide support for our children as other councils are doing. I will also be asking them to make contingency plans for the upcoming Christmas holidays should the government's support still be lacking.

Many businesses, charities and individuals across West Sussex are now working to ensure children do not go hungry next week. The Liberal Democrats thank them for their kindness and compassion but we wish they hadn't needed to step in."

Cllr Bennett said "It is estimated that more than 4900 children are growing up in poverty here in Mid Sussex District. That is why I have written to the Leader of Mid Sussex District Council asking him to support the county council in making sure that children are fed in the school holidays."

Of the 8 Conservative MPs in West Sussex, seven voted against extending the free school meal scheme and just one (Tim Loughton) abstained.