Rosie Cooper MP has raised serious concerns about Lancashire County Council and Sefton Council’s disregard for children’s wellbeing, after a funding dispute left children without free holiday school meal vouchers.
The West Lancashire MP was contacted by one of her constituents who explained that their son, who lives in West Lancashire but attends a Sefton Council school, was not given holiday school meal vouchers.
The child had previously been given the vouchers by Sefton Council who are responsible for the school he attends. Due to a recent change in funding mechanism, however, Sefton took the decision to only offer the vouchers to Sefton residents.
This left Rosie’s constituent without any source of the free school meal voucher they were relying on. The MP immediately contacted both Sefton and Lancashire County Council to insist that an urgent solution be found.
Sefton say they had approached Lancashire County Council to agree a reciprocal agreement to fund vouchers for children attending schools across the boundary but had no response from the neighbouring authority. On this occasion they agreed to provide the free school meal vouchers to the student whose parent had raised the issue with Rosie.
Rosie Cooper commented:
“This is unbelievable. I am astounded by the lack of care and forward planning done by both councils, who should have made arrangements as soon as Sefton decided to stop funding vouchers for West Lancs residents. It is unacceptable that even just one child fell through the cracks like this, let alone potentially every child living in West Lancs that goes to a Sefton school.
“People across West Lancashire rely on these vouchers to feed their children over the holidays. They should not be at the mercy of two council’s determined to play ‘hot potato’ with the funding of an essential service!
“I have asked Lancashire County Council exactly how many of my constituents have missed out on these meal vouchers since Sefton chose not to fund them, and how they intend to put this right!”