Labour move to block cuts to free school meals through Commons vote

Posted On: 
8th March 2018

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has secured debates on Government plans to cut free school meals and childcare vouchers in a bid to block them.

Credit: 
PA Images

Labour are seeking to halt changes to access to the programmes after the Government planned to introduce an income threshold as part of its universal credit roll-out.

The Government had planned to introduce the changes through statutory instruments but will now have to face a vote on the controversial plans. 

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The debate is expected to take place next Tuesday, immediately after the Chancellor’s spring statement.

Ministers could face a humiliating defeat as the DUP, whose votes are required to secure a majority, have previously been opposed to cutting childcare vouchers.

Transitional measures during the roll-out of Universal Credit, saw all families entitled to free school’s meals. But the Government’s cost-cutting measures would see households with an income above £7,400 losing access.

The plans would also see families above the threshold losing access to free childcare for two year olds.

Ms Rayner has secured the debates through the use of an obscure parliamentary process called "praying against".

The Shadow Education Secretary said: “Not only are the Tories taking free school meals and childcare from hundreds of thousands of working families but they are resorting to arcane procedures in a desperate attempt to dodge proper scrutiny from MPs.

“If they really want to take away free school meals and childcare from struggling parents in low paid jobs, Tory MPs should walk through the lobbies and vote for it.

“But with no parliamentary majority, I urge the government to take this chance to think again.”