Conservative government minister Paul Scully has explained that “children have been going hungry for years” when asked why the Tories are opposing the campaign led by Marcus Rashford to extend free school meals.
Early years shadow minister Tulip Siddiq pointed out that Labour’s motion in favour of extending free school meals during holidays, to be voted on this afternoon, has gained the support of some Tory MPs.
“We’ve had a situation where children are… have been going hungry… under a Labour government… for years,” Scully replied. He said the government had put in place the Universal Credit system to top up incomes.
The minister added: “We have been starting to tackle those issues of the people that are at that point on the pay scale and making sure their children can get fed.” Challenged on his answer, Scully said he was looking at “the long term”.
The Tory MP claimed the focus was on how to ensure “the lowest paid can actually help feed their children for weeks, months and years to come”, and reiterated that the much-criticised Universal Credit was one solution.