Press Release: Free School Meal Cuts

Henry Smith MP urged by Council Leader to vote against his Government’s plans to leave some of Crawley’s poorest children without a free school meal 

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, has written to Henry Smith urging him to put Crawley’s poorest children before Tory Party loyalty next week, by voting against a Government plan to impose an income threshold on families currently receiving universal credit. 

The policy, which the Government sought to sneak through without a vote, will mean thousands of children in West Sussex, many growing up in poverty, will not be able to access a free school meal, according to the Children’s Society. The charity estimates it could affect over a million children across the country. 

For some children, this could literally mean the difference between eating a hot meal that day, or going hungry. 

As part of the same measure, the government is also planning to remove free childcare from those earning above the threshold.

For those Crawley families that are affected, the income threshold will create a cliff-edge, meaning some parents could be better off either reducing their hours, or not taking additional hours or pay rises, because moving just above the income threshold would leave them hundreds of pounds worse off for each child affected. This directly undermines the Government’s stated aim of Universal Credit, to make work pay.

The Government’s plans to restrict free school meals and free childcare will be brought to the Commons next week, following an intervention from Labour to bring these heartless and short sighted plans to a binding vote. 

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley, has written to Henry Smith, calling on him to vote the plans down. Speaking about the Government plans, Cllr Lamb said:

“Taking hot dinners away from children in Crawley who are living in poverty is simply wrong. This isn’t some complicated issue which is open to different interpretations, if Mr Smith votes for this proposal he is quite literally voting to make local children in low income households go hungry.

“Mr Smith was elected to serve the needs of our community, not the interests of his party.

“I have written to Mr Smith asking him, as our MP, to consider his priorities on Tuesday and I very much hope that he listens.”

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