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Free School Meals – Email to Cornwall’s six MPs

The below email was sent to MPs: Steve Double, Sarah Newton, Sheryll Murray, Scott Mann, George Eustice, and Derek Thomas. These MPs are all Conservative. Together, they all represent the entirety of Cornwall.

9 March 2018

Dear Members of Parliament representing constituencies of Cornwall,

As you are already no doubt aware, on Tuesday there will be a debate in the House of Commons discussing whether to reduce the numbers of children who will be entitled to free school meals. I am reaching out to you as a concerned citizen to implore each of you to fight for what is right for the people of Cornwall: to fight against these plans.

At the moment, it is believed that at least 13,300 children are living in poverty in Cornwall. The number of children receiving a free school meal is approximately 4,400. This means that there are approximately 8,900 children in Cornwall, living in poverty, who are missing out on free school meals. And these plans want to see even more children missing out.

As someone who used to work in the education sector, I have first hand knowledge of the importance of free school meals. When parents are struggling to survive, struggling to secure some sustenance, struggling to simply supply a sandwich, then the guarantee of one nutritious meal per day, for the child, is something that can really make a difference to the child’s life. Not only does it help with supplying the child with nutrients, and not only does it help with combatting starvation, but it also helps the child to be able to focus and achieve more. There are many studies to support this, many studies carried out throughout time, and I am sure that you have read these. But studies are one thing, and real life, the reality of the situation, is much more serious.

Now, those numbers that I have mentioned above, that is just for Cornwall. As Members of Parliament for the constituencies in Cornwall, I felt that these statistics would be most suited to your mandate. Combining the constituencies for the entirety of Cornwall, there are 13,300 children living in poverty. You represent them. You represent their families. You represent us all.

However, as Members of Parliament, you also have a responsibility to the entire country – as we all do, in society – and so, maybe we should also raise the national issues surrounding this matter. Under the new proposed rules, only 700,000 children will be able to receive that free nutritious hot meal each day. This leaves 1,000,000 children, who are living in poverty, who will be excluded from receiving free school meals. One million children. Isn’t that far too many?

On the topic of the national issues, in January the Royal Society of Arts published a report in which they declared that 70% of the working population are “chronically broke”. This follows an increase in personal debt to £1.6 trillion and a massive rise of people declaring bankruptcy to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis. Last year also saw a dramatic rise in unemployment resulting in 1.47 million people unemployed by the end of the year. Since 2010, the UK has seen an increase of five million more people living in poverty. Half of the people living in poverty actually live with someone in work, and one in seven children of public sector workers are living in poverty. The issues are not getting better, but are in fact getting worse. When will enough be enough?

I implore you to stand up for the people that you represent. I implore you to represent the 13,300 children living in poverty in Cornwall. I implore you to represent the families who are struggling just to get by. Do not allow one million children to starve. Do not allow one more day to go by without these people having a voice in parliament. Do not allow these proposals to go through.

Many thanks,

Matt Coot
Creative Director & Political Blogger,
Rallidae Productions

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