Rugby MP dismisses claims a million children will lose out on free school meals

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Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has described claims that one million children will lose out on free school meals as the result of a parliamentary vote he took part in as ‘simply wrong’.

Rugby Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Debbie Bannigan, criticised Mr Pawsey after he voted against a Labour proposal to stop the introduction of a threshold for families receiving universal credit.

She said: “For some of the poorest children in Rugby, this vote was literally about whether they go hungry or not.”

In a letter to Mr Pawsey before the vote, Debbie Bannigan called on him to support Labour’s proposals, saying: “Imposing an income threshold on families receiving universal credit will not only potentially leave children without a hot meal, but the policy will create a cliff-edge.

“Meaning some local parents could be better off either reducing their hours, or not taking additional hours or pay rises, because moving above the income threshold would leave them hundreds of pounds worse off for each child affected.”

Citing a report from the Children’s Society, Dr Bannigan argues one million children could now lose out on free school meals .

Mr Pawsey said: “Labour’s claims that children will lose out on free school meals as part of the Government’s proposed changes are simply incorrect.

“It is disappointing that once again Labour politicians are attempting to mislead and frighten people in an attempt to win support.”

Mr Pawsey said the changes could see 50,000 more children receiving free school meals. He urged those interested in the issue to see a fact-check of Labour’s argument via goo.gl/86eQVG