HUNDREDS of our readers have been left divided over whether or not free school meals should be extended into the holidays for families and children in need.

Last Wednesday the Labour Party submitted a motion in parliament proposing the extension of the free school meals scheme until at least Easter 2021.

Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE had backed the campaign, stressing the need for struggling children to have access to food when not at school.

It was subsequently defeated by a majority of 61 after 322 MPs voted against it, including Clacton's Giles Watling and Colchester's Will Quince.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

After putting the question to readers of the Gazette, more than 200 people voiced their opinion, arguing for and against the extension of the free school meals scheme.

Kathryn Dickens, from Clacton, stated parents should take full responsibility for feeding their children, not the Government.

She said: “I am sorry, but why are people having children that they can’t afford to feed? Birth control is the answer.”

Simon P Baitson agreed, saying it was “good” that the free school meals extension had been rejected by Downing Street.

He said: “Those not in work, stop sponging and reproducing like rabbits.”

Mel Edwards, a single mum, argued she has struggled at times to provide, but has always found a way to ensure her children are fed.

“I can’t understand why we have to supply free school meals during holidays,” she said.

“I am a single parent who works, gets little help, was furloughed for six months and had no financial help whatsoever.

“But I still managed, I may have struggled at times, but I managed, and it annoyed me to see how much help people on benefits got and still had the audacity to moan.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Thousands of businesses are given away free meals Picture: PA WireThousands of businesses are given away free meals Picture: PA Wire

Others, however, took issue with the fact their local MPs and the Government voted against the motion.

Sharon Munsey said: “It’s disgraceful. Shows how uncaring this Government is and how out of touch with reality its ministers are.

“They should live on minimum wage or Universal Credit for a month with none of their comforts or comfy cushions to see how impossible it is. I am appalled.”

Victoria Adams-Salmon suggested the Government should step in to help families struggling as a result of the impacts of the pandemic. 

“Disgusting. Little to no support out there to people who are still not able to work due to the Government’s mismanagement of Covid,” she said.

“Now they can’t even support those children who are affected.”

Karl Kewell was equally as infuriated by the decision to dismiss the proposal, saying those who voted against the motion should feel ashamed. 

He said: “How could that sit right in your stomach knowing you are actually taking food out of children’s mouths. This what you get with a Tory MP.”