The Leader of the Opposition and of the Oldham Liberal Democrat Group, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has contrasted the recent attempt by the Conservative Government to curtail the entitlement to free school meals from children from the country’s poorest families to his own party’s policy.
Councillor Sykes said: “The Conservatives seem to be on their own in wanting to change the rules to prevent children from households receiving Universal Credit from getting a free hot meal at school every day. This would hit Oldham especially hard as Oldham Borough has the single greatest number of Universal Credit recipients in the UK. Many of these will be parents with children and, as I highlighted in a question to the Council leader at our last full Council meeting (28 March), Oldham features at the top of national figures for child poverty and food poverty.”
He added: “The Conservatives mean spiritedness is in marked contrast to the generosity of the Liberal Democrats. It is our policy to provide free school meals to every child in every state primary school, whatever their age or their family’s financial circumstances. This will remove the stigma that is sometimes wrongly attached to claiming a free school meal and it will mean that no child will attend classes hungry, so they will be able to focus on their studies and not on their stomach. This will help to tackle Oldham massive under performance in education.”