Julian Critchley shares this latest news on behalf of the Isle of Wight Labour Party.
Update 14:00 Since publishing, Channel 4 has carried out a Fact check on both Labour claims and Government position on this. The release from the Children’s Society is also of relevance. Ed
The Isle of Wight Labour Party utterly condemns Bob Seely’s vote last night (Tuesday) to remove free school meals from struggling families on the Isle of Wight.
Yesterday in the House of Commons, Mr Seely voted to remove free school meals from up to a million English children.
Change to Universal Credit rules
Currently all families on Universal Credit can claim free school meals. However, from 1st April, children in Year 3 and above on Universal Credit in England will not normally be eligible if their parents earn more than £7,400.
The Children’s Society has said the “huge step backwards” means “one million children in poverty who could benefit now won’t”, as more families move onto Universal Credit in future.
Affecting 1000s IW families
This could affect thousands of families on the Isle of Wight as Universal Credit is rolled out across the Island.
Island Labour’s Parliamentary spokesperson, Julian Critchley, said:
“Bob Seely’s vote to deny free school meals to poor children on the Island is a disgrace. We have thousands of families struggling to manage on the Island as a result of the Government’s austerity policies. We already have children who are reliant on foodbanks. Yet Mr Seely has now voted to deny them perhaps the only hot meal they would have got during the day.”
Free school meals protected in Northern Ireland
He went on to say,
“What makes this even more appalling is that, before removing food from children on the Isle of Wight and across the rest of England, Mr Seely’s Conservative colleagues first made sure that free school meals were protected in Northern Ireland, in order to ensure that the Democratic Unionist Party voted with them to impose these cuts on England.
“Taking free school meals away from our Island’s poorest children is callous even by the shocking standards of this Government. Using the Unionists to push their cuts through against Labour opposition, when those Unionists knew their own children were protected by the Tories’ squalid deal, is sickening.”
Harming the most vulnerable
Julian finished by saying,
“Once again, there is a vast gulf between the warm words Bob utters about his concern for the welfare of the Islanders, and the votes he pushed through in Westminster which harm the most vulnerable amongst us.”
Update 14:00 Added link to Channel 4 fact check.
Update 14:55 Added link to Children’s Society .