Bath & North East Somerset Council and partners have held emergency talks to make sure no child will go hungry during school holidays, this follows the government’s decision to stop funding free school meals during the holidays. The council and partners have pledged to pull resources together.

There are currently more than 4,000 children in Bath and North East Somerset who receive means-tested free school meals.

Councillor Dine Romero, B&NES council leader, said, “We will step up where the Government hasn’t to make sure children in Bath and North East Somerset do not go without food during school holidays.

“We applaud Marcus Rashford’s campaign but won’t be able to introduce a Free School Meal voucher scheme overnight to replace government funding. We are looking at a range of options including a voucher scheme which we will bring in as soon as we can. Right now I want families to know about the support that is available and that we can offer more immediate help in individual circumstances.

Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services, added, “Today I convened a meeting where we pledged that no hungry child will slip between the net. We should not have to rely on the goodwill of partners and the commitment of local communities to make sure children do not go hungry.

“The Government allocated funds earlier this year under the Covid-19 local authority emergency assistance grant for food and essential supplies but this did not cover Free School Meals. This means that as a council we have got to find additional funding to pay for Free School Meal vouchers to cover the holidays. We are actively looking at doing this and we will continue to lobby government for funding to meet these additional costs to cover support for the 4,000 children in B&NES who need our help.”

Partners who pledge support include