Your Labour councillors have been working hard to fill in the gap left by the Tory government refusing to support Labour MPs’ call for holiday food vouchers for families on low incomes. Note that contrary to Tory claims, councils are not funded to do this – they are having to draw on incredibly tight budgets, and face a huge gap due to Covid coming on top of years of austerity. Neighbouring non-Labour authorities like Wandsworth and Kingston have announced much less generous support.
We urge you to continue to support local community groups providing food to residents such as the food bank and Dons – as well as food donations, consider regular financial donations if you can. We also thank the many local businesses that are supporting families, including Tesco, Morrisons and many others.
We will be campaigning for the Government to increase their support for families over Christmas.
Merton Council’s statement today:
As half term begins, Merton Council has pledged to reimburse the borough’s schools for any food related support they provide in half term week to families of children who would be eligible for Free School Meals during term time, up to the value of £15 per child.
Where schools are not providing direct support themselves, families can be referred onto emergency support provided by local organisations, including the Wimbledon Foodbank, the Dons Local Action Group and the Merton Community Fridge Network.
Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education, Councillor Eleanor Stringer said: “No child in Merton should go hungry this half term. We know that free school meals are a lifeline for many families and we are committed to bridging the gap this week between some of the most deprived pupils in the borough and their classmates.
The council supports the campaign to End Child Food Poverty. Although we have a fantastic, dedicated network in Merton to support families in need, the Government needs to step in and provide funding directly to families to ensure that no parent has to struggle to feed their children.”