Support for plans to tackle holiday hunger

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visiting a Lancashire foodbank
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visiting a Lancashire foodbank

Preston councillors have backed plans to support disadvantaged children who go hungry during school holidays.

A parliamentary bill is calling for a legal duty on local authorities to ensure meals for youngsters who are entitled to free meals in term time. It would be funded by an increased tax on sugary drinks.

A motion proposed by Labour Coun Jade Morgan, outlining support for the bill, was approved by her chamber colleagues yesterday at a meeting of the full council.

Related article: Help for holiday hunger
Coun Morgan, who represents St Matthew’s ward, said it was not a political issue but about helping vulnerable children.

She added: “For children and young people to be at risk of hunger in 2017 is astounding.”

Mayor Brian Rollo highlighted that shelves of local foodbanks are often bare during school holidays.

Conservative opposition leader Coun Neil Cartwright said he would support the motion as “it is the right thing to do” as did the Liberal Democrat members of the chamber.

Tory Couns David Hammond and Stephen Thompson argued the calls do not go far enough in highlighting parental responsibility rather than state intervention.

Coun Thompson said: “I think you need to draw a line in the sand and say that parents have a responsibility as well.” He added: “I don’t think this goes far enough in terms of the causes of this particular problem.”

The motion was carried with an overwhelming majority with three abstentions and no objections.

The “holiday hunger” bill has been backed by Preston MP Mark Hendrick.