Alongside longer-term thinking, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has put together proposals which could help the Government avoid going into the Christmas holidays with the same fractious debate that it has faced over proposals to extend the provision of Free School Meals during this half term break.
Too often, our discussions about serious social issues become politicised and simplistic. This is a good example of a debate that has become simplistic. The real issue is not should we or should we not, it is how best to deliver the support.
CSJ proposals set out a plan to work with the Department for Work & Pensions, whose existing data can identify families in most need, to provide extended support for the Christmas holiday.
This support should work with civil society and through local authorities with a clear remit to address unmet need. Furthermore – and this is where the simplistic call for Free School Meal vouchers goes wrong – professional nutritional guidance should be given to councils, with a clear obligation to pass on such guidance to parents in need. Councils should then work with local community groups to support families.
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