Tory MP's visit to holiday club labelled 'hypocritical'

MEP Vicky Ford visits Lowestoft to find out about flood defence work. Vicky Ford on Lowestoft's

Children and families minister Vicky Ford. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Tory MP has been blasted as "hypocritical" ahead of a visit to two summer holiday clubs offering food and activities to disadvantaged families.

Children and families minister Vicky Ford is set to come to St William's Primary School in Norwich and Little Plumstead Village Hall on August 9.

It comes after the government has extended its national programme to provide free face-to-face places for activities as well as food for children eligible for free school meals in the holidays.

Pressure for the support to continue came from footballer Marcus Rashford, charities, the opposition, and some Conservative MPs.

Chrissie Rumsby, Labour county councillor for Mile Cross in Norwich, in the Phoenix Centre kitchen.

Chrissie Rumsby, Labour county councillor for Mile Cross in Norwich, in the kitchen preparing meals at the Phoenix Centre on the estate for families. - Credit: Simon Floyd

Chrissie Rumsby, who represents the Labour Party and Mile Cross on Norfolk County Council, said: "They [the government] are total hypocrites."

The councillor, who is involved in the estate's Phoenix Centre that gives out food to families at "crisis" point because of welfare freezes, increasing utility costs and the threatened removal of £20 from Universal Credit.

Ms Rumsby added: "The government is patting themselves on the back but it is not focussing on the reality. People are struggling to make ends meet. I think Vicky Ford would get short shrift from residents."

Maxine Webb, Labour county councillor for Norwich's Wensum ward.

Maxine Webb, Labour county councillor for Norwich's Wensum ward. - Credit: Maxine webb

Maxine Webb, a Labour county councillor for the Wensum ward, said: "The Tories shouldn't be telling us how they are picking up problems they caused. They should be doing something about the root of the problem not using a sticking plaster."

Rebecca Atkinson, voluntary chair of Friends of Hewett PTA charity, which offers food and school uniform support, said: "One in three children in Norwich live in poverty which is shocking in 2021 and also hidden. We hope any government will do all they can to ensure children never go hungry."

Teachers at The Hewett Academy have been delivering food packages to families during the coronavirus

Teachers at The Hewett Academy delivering food packages to families during the coronavirus crisis. - Credit: Friends of Hewett

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A government spokesperson said: "We have taken action to ensure families have the food and essentials they need throughout summer, by extending the Covid Local Support Grant through September.

“This is on top of our expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme, backed by up to £220m, which will continue to provide free meals and activities to thousands of disadvantaged children in holidays across England this year.”





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