This week, the Government has made major progress with two areas of important support to help those in need. The first is the wraparound support package for children and families who are in the most need of food and essentials this winter. Dorset Council has been allocated ring-fenced funding of almost £1 million to facilitate this.
It is parents and carers who have responsibility for feeding their children but the Covid Winter Grant Scheme will further help those who need it, especially due to coronavirus. Education budgets are there to educate, and schools will focus on teaching and educating our children – as they should. Schools will also continue, as before, to provide meals for those children who need it during term-time. So, there is no reason why any child should go hungry at home or at school, in West Dorset nor anywhere else in the UK.
As with the funding a few weeks ago, the Government will use Dorset Council’s network and connections to directly help those in need, as they are best placed to ensure appropriate holiday support is provided. This is why councils will distribute the funds.
As part of the wraparound, the Government will also extend help through a separate scheme, including activities, to run during school holidays throughout 2021 - plus an increase in the level of Healthy Start support from April next year.
On 27th October, I said that ‘This is not a question of whether to provide support for children in need. The question is how to do so most effectively’. I said then that I would be pleased to push and see reforms based on parental responsibility, with state support where needed. And despite opposition claims, this is not a U-turn. This is not the short-term free school meals voucher scheme that the Labour Party was calling for. This is a comprehensive, effective and longer-term solution to provide for, and enrich, the lives of disadvantaged children.
For full details of the Government's support, visit:
To read my view on free school meals, and my vote on this in October, visit:
CHRIS LODER MP