Tory minister's claim over free school meals funding gets quickly debunked

Housing and communities minister Robert Jenrick on Sky News

Housing and communities minister Robert Jenrick on Sky News - Credit: Twitter

A lawyer has debunked a Tory minister's accusation that councils were given £63 million to help fund free school meals over the holidays.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick appeared on Sky News Thursday morning where he suggested councils had already been given funding towards free school meals in June.

When asked if the government would review its decision to reject a motion to feed children over Christmas, the minister said: "We've said that we'll continue to keep that under review. We all share the same objective. 

"Of course we want to ensure young people get the best possible life chances. That is at the absolute heart of the moral mission of this government and of the Conservative Party."

Describing measures Downing Street had taken, Jenrick explained: "We recently gave councils £63 million so they can help to support vulnerable children and people through the autumn."

But Peter Stefanovic, a lawyer and political commentator, claimed the money was expected to be spent within 12 weeks of receipt and in the case of Liverpool, the funds were used to purchase Personal Protective Equipment.

Stefanovic explained in a video on his Twitter page that "£63m allocated in June was money to help councils to provide crisis support to households struggling to afford, not just food, but fuel and other essentials.

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"It wasn’t specifically targeted to feed hungry kids during the holidays, and when it was announced in June charities warned it was only a fraction of what was needed."

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for comment.

@Social_Lindy tweeted: "This money was allocated in June to cover until September. The government knows full well that this money has been used as it was expected to be used."

One user wrote: "At this point in the pandemic we need to be able to trust the government."

Another added: "Why if we can't feed our kids can we afford a pay rise every year for politicians?"

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