North East Herts MP welcomes government scheme to help those hardest hit by coronavirus

Conversative Sir Oliver Heald previously voted against extending free school meals to the Christmas holidays. Picture...

Conversative Sir Oliver Heald previously voted against extending free school meals to the Christmas holidays. Picture: Georgia Barrow - Credit: Archant

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald has welcomed the news that families that have been hardest hit by the pandemic will benefit from a new multi-million pound government scheme.

Sir Oliver – who previously voted against extending free school meals to the Christmas holidays, despite initially pushing for the scheme back in the summer – welcomed the extra support with food and bills this winter.

The COVID winter grant scheme will see Herts County Council receive a share of almost £2.5 million to help vulnerable families and individuals. £170 million is being made available for councils across England, in an attempt to prevent children from going hungry this winter and ensure families get the help they need.

This is in addition to the £63 million already provided to councils this year to assist those struggling to buy food and essentials.

A further £220 million will be invested in extending the holiday and food programme until next Christmas, meaning that all children eligible for free school meals will have the option to join a holiday-time programme that provides healthy food and fun activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays next year.


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Oliver Heald said: “No child should ever go hungry, and the extra £2.5 million for Hertfordshire County Council will ensure local families that need extra support with food and bills this winter can access it, which is very welcome news.

“I’m also pleased that the Prime Minister has announced the extension of the holiday activities and food programme, which provides healthy food and activities for children during the school holidays and has a massive impact on disadvantaged young people in our community, to cover Easter, summer and Christmas next year.

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“Investing in children’s future is central to the Conservative Party’s mission to level up and extend opportunity across the country, and with this additional support we can prevent the hunger we know is so damaging to a child’s life chances.

“To support people during this challenging time, the Conservative government has invested more than £200 billion to protect people’s jobs and incomes through the furlough scheme, grants for the self-employed and other support for business and a £9.3 billion injection to strengthen the welfare safety net this year.”

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