Hertfordshire Lib Dems condemn closure of child food voucher scheme

5 Feb 2024
Child reading

Councillors say the “brutal” axing of school-holiday food vouchers will have a “devastating” impact on Hertfordshire’s most deprived children. 

 

The county’s Liberal Democrat opposition have expressed dismay at the council’s decision to end the scheme this month. 

 

Since December 2020, Conservative-controlled Hertfordshire County Council has provided the vouchers - redeemable at supermarkets - to hard-up families whose youngsters are eligible for free school meals. 

 

They’re paid in instalments during school holidays and were last year worth £165. 

 

But they will now cease after the government closed down the Household Support Fund which has largely paid for the vouchers. 

 

Cllr Mark Watkin, Lib Dem spokesperson for education, said: 

 

“This is devastating news for families in hardship who are losing vital support at such short notice.

 

“The voucher scheme has been a lifeline for those who’ve struggled to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis. 

 

“The brutal decision to axe it means that many Hertfordshire children will now go hungry, or be forced to eat the cheapest and least healthy options their parents can afford. 

 

“It underlines - in the most appalling way - how this Conservative government is woefully out of touch with the reality facing millions of families who live on the breadline. 

 

“Liberal Democrats would maintain and extend central funding for councils to provide proper support for youngsters most in need”