MP’s backing for lunch call

DEARNE MP John Healey is backing a campaign to give free meals to the poorest college students.

Young people who continue their education in sixth forms, academies and free schools are still able to claim the meals - but college students cannot.

Mr Healey is now backing the No Free Lunch campaign, which is asking Education Secretary Michael Gove to consider extending free lunches to the poorest college students.

The Labour politician estimates the move would benefit one in five 16-18-year-olds – nearly 300 – in his Wentworth and Dearne constituency.

He said: “Eligibility for free meals should be based on need, not on where you decide to study.

“There is an even greater need for this help now the government has scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance, which I know a lot of young people in our area relied on to help them get to and from college and to eat when they were there.

“Without it some students are going hungry and struggling to concentrate in class, putting their education at risk and affecting their life chances.”

Dearne Valley College estimates a quarter of their students would be eligible for free lunches.

The No Free Lunch campaign is supported by the National Union of Students, University and College Union and the Association of Colleges and Unison.