Nearly one million children living in areas that are subject to Tier 2 and Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions are set to lose access to free school meals over the holidays.
That includes 61,000 children here in Birmingham whose families face a “double whammy” as the October half term fast approaches – with incomes and jobs at risk while vital support for children is removed, and as the Prime Minister and Conservative MPs voted against Labour's motion this week to extend the provision of free school meals over the holidays.
It is a moral outrage that the government will happily spend over £6,000 a day on consultants and line the pockets of Serco shareholders in return for a Test and Trace system that has collapsed, while leaving almost a million children in areas subject to Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions to go hungry.
Thankfully, in the last few hours we have seen councils across the country, including Birmingham City Council, step in and show real leadership in the face of a government failing to act, by guaranteeing to provide free school meals during half term next week.
Last night, I hosted a Birmingham Cladding Scandal Summit with Shabana Mahmood MP, where we heard heart-rending testimonies from Birmingham residents on how their family life, finances and mental health have been impacted by the scandal in the city.
We were also pleased to be joined by Lord Greenhalgh, the Minister for Building Safety and Communities, who had the unenviable task of fielding tough questions from our panellists and attendees, as well as from his opposite number, Labour's Mike Amesbury MP, who provided valuable contributions and set out Labour's stall on the issue.
I want to thank everyone who attended for giving up their time for this important issue, and for everyone who has been campaigning tirelessly against this injustice felt by so many up and down the country.
In case you missed the event, you can watch it back in full by clicking the button below.
Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to ride-along with the Harborne neighbourhood police team on operation.
It was an eye opening experience which reinforced my respect for officers who do an incredible job day in day out under immense pressure and in challenging circumstances.
You cannot protect the public on the cheap, that's why I will continue to campaign for more resources and funding for our police.
Walkabout with Bartley Green residents
Today, I hosted a walkabout with Bartley Green residents and Sergeant Mark Short of Bartley Green neighbourhood police team.
The walkabout gave residents an opportunity to highlight any local concerns with myself and the police. Dangerous driving and speeding issues along Woodgate and Clapgate Lane were raised by many residents.
This is an issue I have taken up with the Council and I am pressing them to look at what traffic calming measures can be implemented to ensure the safety of road users and residents.
Test and trace target missed in every LA and region last week
Reaching 80% of close contacts is key to slowing Covid-19 transmission, yet this target was missed in every single English region and local authority last week.
For instance, only half of all close contacts of covid-positive people were reached here in the West Midlands last week, leaving thousands unaware that they should be self-isolating.
Shambolic doesn't even begin to cover the government's handling of track and trace.