BORIS Johnson is reportedly finding ways to back down and hoping to put an end to the free school meals saga by providing more money for the Government’s holiday clubs scheme.
The Government came under serious scrutiny last week after voting against a Labour motion to extend a free school meal voucher scheme over the holidays as millions of families struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers are now said to be considering an extension of Leon founder Henry Dimbleby’s Holiday Activity and Food programme which was launched across 17 local authorities over the summer.
The scheme would allow children to be given at least one meal a day outside of school time and could be combined with extra study time to help pupils catch up on missed education, according to The Daily Telegraph.
It is too late to implement the scheme over the October half-term holidays but it could be introduced in time for Christmas.
It comes after senior Conservatives reportedly warned Mr Johnson he is losing the hearts and minds of the public, as Labour Leader Keir Starmer sets out to force a second vote.
While some may view the holiday club scheme as a quick fix to the row, a Labour peer has warned Mr Johnson’s alleged plan will not stop child hunger.
Dr Robert Winston, who became a household name through his documentaries on child development, said he had read the report ‘from cover to cover’, adding: ‘It doesn’t remotely cover the problem.’
Speaking on Newsnight, he added that poor nutrition leads to ‘a rise in depression and a decrease in cognitive ability, you can’t learn when you’re starving’.
A petition started by the Manchester United footballer to ‘end child food poverty’ has also almost collected one million signatures. Mr Johnson has insisted no children will go hungry due to ‘inattention’ from his Government as he faces major backlash.