‘It’s scandalous’ - Protestors round on MP over vote against free school meal extension

Residents, parents and campaigners gathered outside Mr Lewis's office this morning. The display was

Residents, parents and campaigners gathered outside Mr Lewis's office this morning. The display was quickly cleared away by his parliamentary assistant just after the group disbanded. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

Protestors took to the steps of their Conservative MP’s constituency office in a demonstration against the government’s “heartlessness” over the free school meal saga.

Tegan Hill, a constituent in Great Yarmouth, said she was disappointed in her MP. Photo: Sarah Burge

Tegan Hill, a constituent in Great Yarmouth, said she was disappointed in her MP. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth locals placed plates bearing messages of disappointment at the steps of Brandon Lewis’ town centre office on Tuesday morning as they revealed they felt “let down” by the person elected to represent their borough.

One of the plates read: “3,047 children in our borough are entitled to free school meals. You have abandoned them.”

Another said: “You claimed £60,602 in expenses between 2019-2020. How many children could you have fed with that money?”

Charlotte Godden, chair of Norfolk Against Holiday Hunger, was among those to attend. She came with her 19-month-old son, Noah.

This morning Norfolk Against Holiday Hunger, alongside many local supporters, held a peaceful and Covid safe 'Plate...

Posted by Norfolk Against Holiday Hunger on Tuesday, 27 October 2020

“Brandon Lewis is the MP for Great Yarmouth but he hasn’t acted in its interests”, she said.


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“He should be ashamed of himself, because there’s 3000 children in the borough who would have benefitted from the free school meal extension over half term. It’s heartless.

“I’m not expecting a U-turn from Mr Lewis, but as we’ve seen with George Freeman there are Conservative MPs who disagree with the government.”

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Mr Lewis refused to comment, but on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday he defended his position and said the government had increased Universal Credit payments to help those going hungry over half term.

Charlotte Godden, chair of Norfolk Against Holiday Hunger, said she wanted justice for her community

Charlotte Godden, chair of Norfolk Against Holiday Hunger, said she wanted justice for her community as she is 'Yarmouth born and bred'. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

But residents Josie Fitzgerald, Trevor Wright and Sarah Bilyard said Universal Credit had been “decimated” by the government and wasn’t sufficient for families to live on.

Ms Bilyard added: “The money the government is giving to councils doesn’t seem to be ringfenced for holiday hunger specifically. Only some of it will trickle down - and the children will be left hungry.”

Kevin Reynolds, from Unite the Union Yarmouth branch said: “We are fully supportive of this campaign. It’s scandalous in this day and age that caring for our most vulnerable children is in doubt.

“This wouldn’t have even cost that much to put in place compared to everything else the government has spent during the pandemic.”

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

Labour councillor Mike Smith-Clare, who helped organise the demonstration, said: “The number of deprived children in Great Yarmouth is increasing - yet the local MP seems oblivious to this.”

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah

A message for Brandon Lewis from one of the 15 families who helped create the display. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

Plates made as part of the demonstration. Photo: Sarah Burgess

Plates made as part of the demonstration. Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

Trevor Wright, Sarah Bilyard and Josie Fitzgerald attended the protest "for their grandchildren". Ph

Trevor Wright, Sarah Bilyard and Josie Fitzgerald attended the protest "for their grandchildren". Photo: Sarah Burgess - Credit: Archant

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