📄 School meals in holidays

From  Jon Muller
To  Alan Mak
(Current MP for Havant)
4 November 2020

Dear Mr Mak,

I am dismayed and saddened that the government could not have supported the Opposition’s motion to provide additional help to our most disadvantaged children.

I am not convinced by the argument that families are helped in other ways as this would have provided meals directly to children who most need them.

Quite frankly it is heartless, and you as our elected representative supported the government.

Studies have shown that children who are hungry struggle to learn, which leaves them further disadvantaged.

Some of your parliamentary colleagues believe it is only creating dependency to help children in this way.  Do you think similarly?  If you do, perhaps you should say so in your newsletter to constituents so we are aware where your values lie.

It is a mean government that denies basic rights to children in need.

I hope Marcus Rashford’s bravery in continuing to champion this shames you and your government.

Not in my name Mr Mak.


Jon Muller

From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To  Alan Mak,
(Current MP for Havant)
17 January 2021

Dear Mr Mak,

In answer to a recent query from a constituent about free school meals during the holidays, you wrote an email in which you claimed

“…if any local family or pupil is experiencing hunger and telephones HBC today they will receive a free supermarket food voucher today to spend on food – or they will receive a box of food delivered directly to their home today.  In other words, they will receive immediate, tangible, on-the-day help to buy food funded by the Government, or a box of food funded by the Government delivered directly to their home.”

This sounds excellent, so a local Labour Party member made some phone calls, to find out how a family finding themselves in hardship during the school holidays would access this service in practice.

Havant Borough Council denied all knowledge of the scheme, and gave the number of a ‘welfare assistance helpline’, which turned out to be defunct.

When phoned back, they suggested that the struggling parents should try Hampshire County Council instead.

Hampshire County Council also denied that what you wrote was true.

They said that food vouchers for children could not be issued directly by the Council, but had to be applied for by the school, so nothing could be done until after the school holidays.

They advised the caller to consult a website that promotes food banks run by charities.

It would appear that the claims you made in your email are untrue, and that neither the Borough Council nor the County Council have been issuing supermarket food vouchers or food parcels on demand to families in need during the school holidays.

Our member recorded the telephone conversations.  The full transcripts are attached.

I invite you to comment.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Munday

Attachment: Transcript201229.pdf

From  Alan Mak
(Current MP for Havant)
To  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
19 January 2021

Dear Mr Munday,

Thank you for contacting me regarding free school meals in the holidays. Under normal circumstances, I would not comment on confidential correspondence that I have sent to constituents, but in this case I thought it would be helpful to clarify a few points.

Most importantly, my email to that constituent specifically related to help and support that was provided during the *October 2020 half term holiday* by Havant Borough Council. This was factually correct and reflected the public information that was also released at the time by Havant Borough Council, see link for a press release they issued during half term: https://www.havant.gov.uk/news/havant-borough-council-help-struggling-families

I note from the transcript that your Havant Labour Party activist telephones towards the very *end of December 2020 during the Christmas holiday period*, when a totally different system was in place through the Government-funded COVID Winter Grant Scheme. This was a £2,898,701 grant from central Government to Hampshire County Council for them to help support the most vulnerable children and families through this winter (and this support is on-going). Of this 80 per cent of the funding is earmarked to support local people with food and bills, including across the Havant Constituency.

I have no involvement in the running of Hampshire County Council but I do believe they are best placed to understand and respond to local need. As the local education authority they can identify and help those children and families most in need- which is why they distribute funding. For more information on how Hampshire County Council have distributed these funds see here: https://www.hants.gov.uk/en/News/01122020FoodVchrScheme

Please can you retract your suggestion that my e-mail was wrong?

Best wishes,


From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To  Alan Mak
(Current MP for Havant)
26 January 2021

Dear Mr Mak,

Thank you for your reply to my letter concerning the availability of free school meals in the holidays.

I understand that the delivery mechanism was changed from Autumn half term to the Christmas holidays.

However, the important point is that neither Havant Borough Council nor Hampshire County Council knew anything about the issue, including either previous or then current arrangements and were unable to signpost a resident to find the answer by directing them to the local school in order to access the vouchers.

We will put your response letter alongside my original letter on our website so that people can take their own view.

It is plain that access has not been easy for all vulnerable families and at each stage the government has resisted the delivery of free holiday meals during this pandemic.

A key measure of a civilised and caring society is how well they protect the most vulnerable in difficult times.  Unfortunately, by resisting the delivery of free holiday meals for children until forced into it by public pressure and then making the process difficult to access, your government and you as our MP have let them down badly.


Phil Munday

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