YET again, Westminster has been reeling with the latest scandal centred on the provision of decent, nourishing food for the country’s most vulnerable children, only months after Marcus Rashford and others were urging our Conservative government to take the challenge seriously and get the right kind of food to the right families in time for the Autumn half-term.

Back then, all five of our Somerset MPs supported their government and voted against the provision of food vouchers given directly to families via their local schools, in favour of awarding extra funding to local authorities to cover the cost of food.

Here in Somerset, as many of us remember, that strategy ended up close to being ‘too little, too late’ and local volunteers bridged the gaps themselves on their own initiative.

Hundreds of meals were provided free by restaurants, cafes, food banks and the like in the nick of time, and children had full bellies.

And yet, a similar scenario has been unfolding again as the internet was flooded by reports of inadequate food parcels sent to needy families in lockdown.

The government had allocated £30 per child, per two weeks, to provide good food only for the money, once again, to end up in the hands of the likes of Chartwells - a private catering company - who clearly have been spending less, skimping on food, and pocketing the difference, thus ripping-off not only families in food poverty but the government itself, which - it must be remembered - is spending funds raised from all our hard-earned tax revenues!

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And at the centre of all this in Taunton Deane has been our MP, Ms Rebecca Pow, who actually had the front page of the County Gazette last Autumn devoted to her insistent claims that the government had Free School Meal provision under control, having decided the better option was to act through the agency of local authorities; in this case the Conservative-controlled Somerset County Council.

And now to make things even more worrying, this same Somerset County Council has now been accused by Ian Liddell Granger, MP for Bridgwater, of misappropriating monies allocated by central government for Covid-19 resilience to their own coffers, thus standing doubly accused of apparent chicanery with regard to funds ear-marked to support the most hard-hit businesses as well as needy families in Somerset.

As far as I know, once again, our own MP, Ms Pow, has said very little and acted even less to draw attention to any, let alone all, of this.