At today's meeting of Hertfordshire County Council, the Conservatives turned down a proposal from the Liberal Democrats to top up - by £31 per child - the Government's £50 part-funding of vital support over the summer holiday for each of the 34,400 children receiving free school meals.
County Councillor Mark Watkin, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children's Services and proposer of the top-up motion, commented;
"I am massively disappointed. In the same meeting, the County Council had previously agreed to increase the Government's £7.5m allowance towards COVID recovery by £2.1m, because it felt the needs of our struggling community justified it. So how can the Conservatives, in all conscience, fail to see the hardship that will follow from the Government's cutting of the free school meal allowance to children in greatest need? The effect of supporting the Liberal Democrats' poverty-reducing act would have been just £1.1m, effectively increasing the County's contribution to £2.6m. The Conservatives agreed to top up the free school meal funding for the Easter holiday and summer half-term, so why are they walking away when it's most needed?"
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