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Liberal Democrat Bid for Additional Funding for Free School Meals Voted Down by Hertfordshire Tories

Free School Meals 1At the Hertfordshire County Council Budget Council Meeting on 23rd February, 2021, the Conservative Administration refused to support Liberal Democrat proposals to fund free school meals for 22,000 children during school holidays, once current funding runs out at the end of the Summer Half-Term. But the £3.5m cost of this could have come from a £5.5m Inequality Reserve created from council tax surpluses.

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Mark Watkin, Opposition Spokesperson for Children's Services commented "I am deeply disappointed. These children are the most deprived, coming from families with the most challenging circumstances. All the evidence shows, as Marcus Rashford has clearly demonstrated, that the single greatest change you can make to these children is to make sure they are well fed.

In the Extra-Ordinary Meeting we called in November, the Conservatives responded to our proposals by agreeing to fund these meals until the Summer half-term, so why did they walk away now, when the need is even greater? "

County Councillor Ron Tindall, who seconded the Liberal Democrat motion said, "Many families have found the extra costs of feeding children at home pushed up spending so it is vital that Free School Meals are continued through school holidays."

The Government, in its lack of action, is showing just how hollow its promise to make this country more equal really is. I would have hoped that this Administration would have had more courage and commitment."