Holly Lynch: Halifax's MP challenges Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in PMQs over schools having to become 'fourth emergency service'

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Halifax’s MP confronted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier today (Wednesday) over how schools are having to help people through the cost of living crisis.

Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, Holly Lynch (Labour) referred to a recent ITV documentary – Life and Debt: Stories from the Edge– which showed the incredible work being done at Ash Green Primary School in Mixenden to help struggling families.

Holly spoke of a Halifax mum – “Izzy” – featured in the documentary: “Her pre-payment energy bills have tripled and she was relying on a local primary school – Ash Green – who are providing free breakfasts, budget cooking classes and a hardship fund for their families.

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"When headteacher Mungo Sheppard is asked does he worry about the children at his school when he goes home at night, he says ‘All the time. It never leaves you’.

Holly Lynch, MP for HalifaxHolly Lynch, MP for Halifax
Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax

"Does the Prime Minister think it’s right that things are so bad that schools are having to become the fourth emergency service for the families that they support?”

Responding, the Prime Minister said: “Because of the actions we’ve taken, a typical family like Izzy’s will be seeing half of their energy bills paid for by the Government. That is support worth £1,500 extended in the most recent budget.

"For the most vulnerable in our society there’s additional support – a £900 to those on welfare and through the holiday activity and food programme, support for families with the cost and support for food during the holidays.

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"But I would also say for Izzy and others that are in particular need, they should talk to their council because the Chancellor has provided over a billion pounds of funding to the Household Support Fund. It’s there to help families like that who need a little bit of extra assistance during this time.”

The ITV documentary – which is available to watch online via ITVX – includes how Ash Green Primary School has noticed families struggling like never before, and they’ve started to lend money to parents to help with their household bills from a hardship fund on the premise that they will pay the money back when they can.