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MP says Government ‘let down more than one million children’ by voting against free school meals

Rashford added a powerful statement.

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Number 10/Flicker & MarcusRashford/Twitter

MPs voted against free school meals over holidays, despite Marcus Rashford’s campaigning.

MPs voted in the House of Commons last night on the plan to extend free school meals into school holidays. There were 322 votes to 261.

The plan would have extended provision of hot food for children until Easter 2021, however, it was defeated by a majority of 61. 

According to Food Foundation, more than 1.4million children experience food insecurity and 6.3% are worried about going hungry during the upcoming October half-term. 

Following the news, #EatNowtToHelpOut is now trending on Twitter. Labour MP for Coventry North West tweeted: “I pleaded with the Conservatives to find it in their heart to ensure children don’t go hungry.

“Tonight they voted against our proposals for Free School Meals this Christmas.”

Adding thanks to Marcus Rashford for raising this issue, “We will keep persisting until we #Endchildpoverty”, she said.

Campaigners, including Marcus Rashford, explained that the coronavirus crisis has lead to a surge in economic insecurity including a threat of an unemployment spike due to a winter wave of the virus.

The government previously bowed to the pressure, making a well-documented u-turn and extended free meals throughout the summer holidays. For the first time in modern British history, schools closed leaving many children who rely on the free school meal with food insecurity. The scheme cost an estimated £126m.  However, they have said they don’t want to do it again. 

Rashford MBE, told his 3.5 million Twitter followers following the news: “Put aside all the noise, the digs, the party politics, and let’s focus on the reality. A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today.”

He added: “We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity…

“I don’t have the education of a politician, many on Twitter have made that clear today, but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected. These children matter.”

The shadow education secretary, Kate Green said that Mr Johnson and the Conservatives had ‘badly let down more than one million children and their families’

She added: “No child should go hungry over the holidays, but the government is blocking the action needed to prevent this,”

“We pay tribute to Marcus Rashford and others for shining a spotlight on this incredibly important issue. This campaign is not over and the government must reconsider.”

Rashford finished his statement with: “These children are the future of this country. They are not just a statistic.

“And for as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine. You have my word on that.”

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Teachers, police officers and shop workers might be given priority in next vaccine rollout phase

Thoughts?

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Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

Officials are considering who should be a priority in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says they are looking into jobs that come into close contact with the public and considering if they should be given priority access. 

This means the likes of teachers, police officers and shop workers could be in the next phase of the vaccine rollout.

The decision will be made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and Matt Hancock has called for a national debate on prioritisation.

Daniel Schludi / Unsplash

Mr Zahawi told Times Radio: “Teachers, police officers, shop workers, those who through no fault of their own, other than the work that they do, may come into contact with the virus at much greater volume [should be] the top of the list.”

Outlining how a decision on priority should be made, Matt Hancock said at the Downing Street press conference on Monday: “The clinical advice is to go through the top groups… and then after that it is essentially about protecting people as well as possible according to a judgment about who should come next.

“That is why we should have a debate about that.

“Ninety-nine per cent of deaths occur in the top nine groups and after that it is about protecting against transmission and getting life back to normal as soon as possible.”

King Church / Unsplash

Currently, the order of priority for phase one is: 

  1. Care home residents and their carers
  2. Those 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers
  3. Those 75 and over
  4. Those 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable people
  5. Those 65 and over
  6. People between 16-65 with underlying health conditions which put them at risk of more serious illness from COVID-19
  7. Those 60 and over
  8. Those 55 and over
  9. Those 50 and over

A petition calling for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised has now gained 470,000 signatures with some arguing it could help with schools reopening. 

The chairman of the Police Federation John Apter has called for police officers to be given the vaccine as soon as possible. 

Dorset Police have also backed the calls after two officers tested positive for Covid-19 at an anti-lockdown rally in Bournemouth.

One of the officers said: “Police officers shouldn’t be the first in line for the vaccine and we know the risks of our job, but we see vast amounts of people every day.

“If a call comes in, we have to go to it; we can’t say we won’t go to it. And we are putting ourselves, and our families at risk, every single day.”

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Jeremy Clarkson ‘fed up’ with people ‘whingeing’ over quality of the free school meal parcels

“I am fed up to the back teeth of the whingeing this story unleashed”

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RoadsideMum / Twitter & jeremyclarkson1 / Instagram

Jeremy Clarkson says he’s ‘really quite fed up’ with certain people ‘whingeing’ over the quality of free school meals. 

Multi-millionaire Jeremy Clarkson who regularly shares his troubles online – like that time his chef prepared truffles for breakfast, or that time he couldn’t decide which of his Range Rovers to use – has pitched in with his views on the quality of the government’s free school meals for children. 

While Clarkson can agree that there is some ‘shameless profiteering’ going on, he can’t help but point out that he is ‘fed up to the back teeth of the whingeing’ from ‘certain people’.

Writing in his Sunday Times column, the Grand Tour host said: “On the food front, I think [Marcus Rashford’s] fight is noble and well-judged, and I agree that some shameless profiteering is going on.”

The journalist, who is estimated to be worth around £60m, added: “But I am fed up to the back teeth of the whingeing this story unleashed.

“We live in a country where children from less well-off families are entitled to free lunches when they are at home. Yippee.

“But instead of celebrating that fact, and concentrating on making sure the food they get is not half an ounce of mould and a dead dog, I heard a woman on the news the other day demanding that she be given £30 to provide lunch for her child. Thirty quid? Where’s she going to take him? Fortnum & Mason?”

The presenter went on to blast those who would prefer a supermarket voucher than the food hampers, suggesting they would exchange it for ‘fags and scratchcards’. 

jeremyclarkson1 / Instagram

But bashing hungry kids wasn’t enough for Clarkson on this particular Sunday, when he eventually turned his attention to teachers in his column titled ‘Where’s our Dunkirk spirit? Indoors, moaning that the sea’s a bit choppy and the boat smells’.

He wrote: “And don’t get me started on teachers, because, as far as I can tell, instead of working out how they will educate their pupils in these troubled times, every single one of them is to be found on the news every night, with his laptop at the wrong angle and a terrible painting in the background, saying that Boris Johnson should buy every child in the land an iPad and that no teacher should have to work again, ever.”

He concluded: “In the olden days, a British person would have dealt with these trials by going outside to help push the stuck vaccine delivery lorry. But not any more.

“Now, we’re more likely to storm out of the tent in a sulk of shuddering shoulders and tears, saying, ‘I am just going outside and may be some time — and if you don’t like it, you can all eff off. And I want a free laptop’.”

Following the widespread pressure from the public after images of the food hampers emerged across social media last week the government reintroduced school vouchers for eligible pupils. 

A report published in December by the Social Market Foundation estimated that 14% of British children – totalling to 1.7 million children – have suffered such persistent hunger over the course of the coronavirus pandemic they could be classed as enduring ‘very low food security’. 

You can read Clarkson’s arguably rather ‘whingey’ article here and donate to FareShare here

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Aldi to give 30,000 staff a pay rise to say thanks for their hard work during the pandemic

Amazing news!

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David Clark / Geograph

Aldi has confirmed they will be giving 30,000 members of staff a pay rise, with some earning £11.32 an hour.

The biggest pay rise will be seen by workers in London who have been employed by Aldi for at least two years.

The minimum hourly wage outside of the M25 will see a 15p rise too, from £9.40 to £9.55 for all newly-employed staff. 

The pay rise will come into play from February 1st, 2021 and will affect 30,000 members of staff on minimum wage. 

David Smith / Geograph

The new pay exceeds the Living Wage Foundation’s recommendation of £9.50 an hour nationally and £10.85 in London. 

The supermarket pays all staff for their breaks on shift. Plus the ‘vast majority’ of managers will also get a pay rise, but it is yet to be confirmed how much by. 

Giles Hurley, chief executive officer, Aldi UK and Ireland said: “I want to express my sincere thanks to every single Aldi colleague who stepped up when it mattered.

“Their outstanding efforts have ensured that our customers continue to have access to fresh affordable food, every single day.

“It has never been more important to ensure that our colleagues are rewarded fully for their immense contribution during a challenging period for everyone.”

Geograph

The news comes after Morrisons announced 96,000 of their workers will receive a pay rise to at least £10 an hour.

Morrisons became the first UK supermarket to pay at least £10 an hour, with the rise coming into play in April. 

David Potts, Morrisons CEO, said: “It’s great to be able to say that in the UK from April this year, if you work at Morrisons supermarkets, you will earn at least £10 an hour.

“It’s a symbolic and important milestone that represents another step in rewarding the incredibly important work that our colleagues do up and down the country.”

He added: “Morrisons colleagues have earned their status as key workers, and this pay increase, many times over.”

 

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