Sefton Council, local charities and Southport businesses are being praised for rallying around after the government refused to extend free school meals to hardpressed local families this week.
Despite strong appeals from Manchester United footballer and child food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, the government voted down the Labour Party motion to give extra free meals support to families during the current crisis by extending it over the holiday periods until next Easter.
Southport’s Conservative MP Damien Moore, who has been strongly criticised for voting to reduce free school meals in the past, once again refused to support the much-needed help this time by abstaining.
Just minutes before, he also voted against giving 80% furlough support to local workers and businesses affected by Tier 3 restrictions – leaving them with just two-thirds of wages under government plans.
Southport Councillor Greg Myers says that while the MP has “utterly failed” to support local families on these issues, others are showing what the true spirit of the town and borough really is, commenting:
“Some local bodies actually realise the devastation that is going on due to this current crisis and the government’s mishandling of it. Sefton Council has done much of the heavy lifting locally during this period and once again has come to the aid of local residents.”
“The announcement that it will be putting in place a scheme to help our children and families who access free school meals during the half term and at Christmas will be a huge relief for many struggling local families.”
“It is also giving vital support to local foodbanks, which will also be front and centre providing assistance.”
“Meanwhile, local businesses such as The Hart Space are also now stepping in to organise collections to help the town’s children and their parents and local restaurants like La Tabella are offering free kids pasta meals to help those who need it.”
“We should be proud of them all for their support and basic decency. It is a strong and dignified response to a callous government and this town’s MP, which have utterly failed local people on these issues.”