Commenting on the announcement of funding for FSM over the summer holidays, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The NEU welcomes the news that the Government will provide a £120 million “Covid summer food fund” to support children and families who are facing real crisis as the summer holiday approaches. In the fifth richest country in the world, it is not right that so many children face food insecurity, especially in a time of global health crisis.
'After a great deal of public pressure the Government has finally recognised the importance of ensuring that children do not go hungry during this time of unprecedented pandemic. The NEU congratulates Marcus Rashford for the stand he has taken.
'There should never have been any hesitation on the part of Government. For too many children and young people hunger is an all too familiar part of their daily life. It is now time for Government to act upon the need to end child poverty, not just for the period of a pandemic but for all time.
'The hardship and struggle our current benefit system and support for those living in poverty will not end with the containment of this virus. COVID 19 is a natural phenomenon – poverty is not.
'We must work together as a society to build back better after this crisis, ensuring that families facing food insecurity and poverty are offered the support they need to get back on their feet.
'Provision of free school meals over the summer was the 2nd of the NEU's 10 point plan for education. We look forward to working with others, including Government to achieve the other 9 points.