Call for cash so every Norfolk school can plant Covid memorial tree

A protest will take place at the Charles Burrell Centre, Thetford, against proposals to close childr

Labour's budget amendment calls for more money to be pumped into children's centres. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The potential reopening of closed children's centres, millions of pounds to stop children going hungry and money for every school in Norfolk to plant a tree to commemorate people who died from coronavirus.

Those are among proposals the opposition Labour group at Norfolk County Council will table as amendments to County Hall's budget at a meeting on Monday.

The Labour group says the council should dip into reserves, including some money set aside to deal with Covid-19 issues.

Proposals include £3.8m over two years to provide free school meals to eligible children over holidays, should the government discontinue the spending sparked by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign.

A multi-million pound support package to support Norfolk families over Christmas has been unveiled f

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford campaigned over free school meals. - Credit: EzumeImages/Getty Images/iStockp

Another amendment proposes £750,000 be pumped into children's centres to meet new demand pressure created by the pandemic, with £50,000 used to study the impact of the new model of children's centres.

And a further £1.5m would be set aside to use to meet unmet need and to, potentially, reopen some children's centres which shut.

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A further £3m would be used over two years to bring back the council's youth service, axed a decade ago.

Children need a laptop or tablet for homeschool.

Labour's amendment would make £300,000 available to get children laptops for learning. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

And £300,000 would be used to make sure children get access to laptops, following the EDP-backed Every Child Online campaign.

Another £2m would be set aside to revive the sheltered housing warden scheme.

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

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Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group, said: "Norfolk needs something to look forward to as we come out of Covid.

"If the vaccine programme is successful and we stick to the rules to drive the infection levels right down some of the money held back to deal with Covid problems won't be required and could be spent in other ways."

The Labour group also proposes £250,000 so every school can plant a tree in memory of those who died during the pandemic and for community groups who want to commemorate those who have perished.

Mr Morphew said: "Communities and especially schools with young people who have had a really rough time will want to commemorate in ways that suit them."

The Conservative-controlled council's budget, which includes a council tax increase of almost 4pc, will be decided at a virtual meeting of the full council on Monday.

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