Minister claims councils given money to support families – but Devon says it can’t afford to provide school meals

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I’ve asked the Leader of Devon County Council, John Hart, to provide school meals for children in need of them during the half-term holiday.

Cabinet Minister Brandon Lewis said yesterday that the Government had given councils £63m to support families, but Cllr Hart tells me that Devon has been given the smallest amount of new Covid funding of any County Council and some Devon districts including East Devon have been given only the minimum amount. ‘We were expecting a lot more money’, he says. ‘Our finances are already under pressure for the rest of this year with even more pressure for next year. Therefore with demands on funds I do not think it would be right to consider funding this scheme.’

I’ve replied urging him to reconsider. The cost of providing this support at half term and Christmas would not be huge, in the big scheme of things, but there are children in every area of Devon who really need this support.

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