Free school meals news: Boris Johnson should NOT perform U-turn – poll | UK | News (Reports)

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The Prime Minister is facing mounting calls to extend free school meals for the most vulnerable children outside of term time in England. Last week in the House of Commons, Conservative MPs voted down a Labour motion to extend the scheme this autumn.

A campaign spearheaded by Manchester United and England forward Marcus Rashford has since called on the Government to reserve its decision, just as it did during the summer holidays, with Labour also preparing to force another vote on the matter.

Mr Johnson has so far refused to change policy and insisted the Government is doing “everything in our power” to prevent children going hungry, and also pointed to the increased money for local councils and hike in Universal Credit benefits.

A poll of more than 9,000 Express.co.uk readers, has found three-quarters of those asked support the stance of the Prime Minister.

The survey conducted on Monday, October 26 between 10.41am and 10.00pm asked 9,166 Express.co.uk readers, should Boris Johnson U-turn and fund holiday food for vulnerable kids?

A huge 78 percent (7,239), thought the Prime Minister should not change his mind and voted ‘no’.

Just 21 percent (1,816), believed Mr Johnson should reverse his decision and voted ‘yes’.

Meanwhile, one percent (111), remained unsure and opted for ‘don’t know’.

A number of Express.co.uk readers let their feelings known in the comments section of the poll.

One reader said: “No not if what we have been told is true, it seems that universal credit has gone up and all local councils have been given money to fund free meals as they see fit.”

A petition by Marcus Rashford has attracted almost 900,000 signatures, including Henry Dimbleby, the Leon chain co-founder and head of the Government-commissioned National Food Strategy.

The Government’s social mobility watchdog also supported Rashford, saying 600,000 more children were in poverty than in 2012.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already introduced their own food voucher schemes for school children.

Speaking on Monday during a visit to a hospital in Reading, Mr Johnson said: “We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this Government – and you are not going to see that.”

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The Government has already increased Universal Credit by £20 a week, while an additional £63 million was made available to local authorities in June to feed vulnerable families – but critics argue the funding has already been spent.

Mr Johnson also highlighted the increase in funds for councils and said Universal Credit was “one of the best ways you can help families in this tough time”.

He added: “I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger, it is there, we have to deal with it.

“The debate is how do you deal with it.”

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