Grahame & Malcolm Fallow East Durham Trust
Grahame & Malcolm Fallow East Durham Trust

Easington MP Grahame Morris hit out after the government voted to end holiday free school meals scheme from October half term and Christmas.

Labour campaign to ensure that no child goes hungry during the coronavirus pandemic, giving the Prime Minister and Chancellor 72 hours to extend the scheme before forcing a Commons vote on the issue.

In Easington constituency 3,605 children are at risk of going hungry over the holidays as the government withdraws support for the provision of free school meals.

The October half term comes as millions of families face a furlough cliff-edge that could see jobs across the country at risk, at the same time as millions of families face tighter restrictions.

Easington MP Grahame Morris said: 

“The holiday free school meals was a scheme to alleviate the shameful situation of child food poverty which has increased over the last ten years due to government policies.

Every one of the 322 Members of Parliament who voted to end the holiday free school meal programme, will have to explain why they believe vulnerable children should go hungry during the holidays.

When you consider the present situation, people worried about jobs, the furlough cliff edge, and the pressure of day to day living in our covid economy, this decision is cruel and heartless.

 Just two months ago, the Chancellor was providing limitless subsidised meals for anyone with the money to use his eat out to help out scheme. However, today, Conservative MPs voted to stop children living in low-income families having a free holiday meal.

The world seems upside down when these injustices and hardships can happen as a matter of routine. Parliament failed last night, and those who voted to permit children to go hungry need to face up to the consequences for their communities and be ashamed of themselves.”


• Labour is calling for the extension of free school meals (“FSM”) to all children who are currently eligible in all of the school holidays between now and spring 2021. This includes the coming October half term, the Christmas holidays, February half term and the Easter holidays. 

• There are currently over 1.44 million children eligible for free school meals, who could all benefit from this policy if it was enacted. 

Source: Department for Education, Schools, pupils, and their characteristics: Academic Year 2019/20, 21 September 2020

• Conservative MP and chair of the Education Committee Robert Halfon expressed disappointment at Boris Johnson rejecting Marcus Rashford’s call for free school meals to be extended over the holidays.

• The Labour led government in Wales has committed to ensuring free school meal provisions for every school holiday until Easter 2021.

• During the lockdown parents were nearly twice as likely to be furloughed as those without children. 13.6% of parents were furloughed, compared to 7.2% of those without children, according to the Office for National Statistics.


Regional and Constituency Statistics


Children eligible for FSM



East Midlands


East of England




North East


North West


South East


South West


West Midlands


Yorkshire and the Humber


Source: Department for Education, Schools, Pupils and Their Characteristics

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