Hastings restaurant offers children free food after MPs reject school meals motion

A Hastings restaurant has offered free burgers to all school-aged children in response to MPs rejecting a motion to extend free school meals until next Easter.

Dave Brady, from No Bones, in Hastings

No Bones, a vegan restaurant, in Hastings, said they 'could not ignore' the government's decision to vote against the scheme.

The motion, put forward by Labour, would have seen free school meals for children extended through next week's half term, the Christmas holidays, and until Easter next year.

MPs rejected the motion by 322 votes to 261 at the Commons on Wednesday evening (October 21). Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart and Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman both voted against the motion.

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On Thursday evening (October 22), No Bones offered all school children a free burger on Wednesday next week (October 28). The restaurant, currently based at the Prince Albert, will be open between 12pm and 1pm with staff donating their time.

No Bones have also urged other local businesses to join them by offering food on another day next week to help cover the half term.

They said: "We could prevent any kids from going hungry this week, or at least help out a struggling parent with a tiny gesture giving back to the community that supports us so often."

The campaign to extend school meals into the holidays was spearheaded earlier this year by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who forced the Government into a U-turn on the summer break.

On Thursday, Mr Rashford said he was 'blown away by news of local businesses stepping up to fill the voucher scheme deficit during the October half term'.

He added: "Selflessness, kindness, togetherness, this is the England I know."

No Bones have also asked people to donate the Hastings Food Bank Run, which has raised £1,400 in one day. If you would like to donate, click here.No Bones added: "When we heard the news today of the government voting against free school meals during holidays we couldn’t ignore it. When you take a step back from the political punches and heckles of 'taking responsibility for your own' there are people out there struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table week in and week out; we know this isn’t a half-term problem, a short term problem or a local problem. This is unfortunately an international problem and in our opinion the government had the opportunity today to make a dent in that problem with money that’s available to them to do so."

After voting against the motion, Mrs Hart said: “I am committed to ensuring that young people have the support and opportunities to succeed for the future. We will always provide a safety net to ensure that those who need it most are supported.

“This includes £63m in funding for councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food essentials and meals.

“I am continuing to support our most vulnerable children and families including ensuring children who are eligible for free school meals continue to receive them if required.”