Labour has revealed that the amount of money the government “wasted” on a single contract for “useless” personal protective equipment could have paid almost entirely for extending free school meals.
The new analysis highlights that the £157m needed for extending the meals across school holidays is only slightly more than the £150m spent earlier this year on a private contract for masks that could not be used.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has criticised the government decision to lose money on one but refuse to fund the other and accused her counterpart Rishi Sunak of getting “his priorities wrong”.
Commenting on the new analysis and the need to extend the free school meals programme, Dodds said: “The Chancellor didn’t bat an eyelid when millions of pounds of public money were wasted on PPE that couldn’t be used.
“Yet when it comes to keeping kids fed this Christmas, he has nothing to offer but humbug. This Chancellor has got his priorities wrong. He won’t budge on a circuit breaker that could save lives and livelihoods.