Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Sutton joins Kingston and Richmond to support hungry children over half-term

It has been a scrabble to find the funding and get a working scheme in place at short notice, but Cllrs Marian James & Jenny Batt were determined to make up for the Government’s failure to extend Free School Meals over half term and get Sutton Council to put a scheme in place.

There was widespread disgust at our two local Conservative MP’s failure to support the Free School Meals vote in Parliament, and a number of local community groups and even individual people responded by offering to help provide food for children over half term.

In defence of their MPs our local Sutton Conservatives then suggested we use the £171,000 the Government allocated at the beginning of July to support the voluntary sector and to provide all those food parcels delivered to shielding and vulnerable households. Money that has already been spent in the 12 weeks the Government guidance stipulated, and confirmed in the finance papers to a recent Strategy & Resources cross-party committee the Tories sit on!

That same committee received a report showing that additional costs incurred by the council to support the increased demand as a result of Covid was now at £12.2 million, but like councils across the country we are not receiving sufficient funding to cover all of the demand, and still face a £1.5 million shortfall just in this year.

Still it appears to be Tory policy to announce ‘new’ financial support schemes that turn out to be rehashed existing schemes. Unfortunately it can’t be spent twice.

More details on the scheme will be published on the Council website on Monday. Officers will continue to work over the weekend with Cllrs James & Batt to get everything in place.

I’m delighted to see that all three Lib-dem-run councils in London are united in their desire to make up for the callousness of this Government’s stance. There are more families in poverty as a result of losing their jobs or simply struggling through this pandemic. We have to show compassion, not condemnation.

October 24, 2020 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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