BRADFORD Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe has disputed Robbie Moore MP's claim that £18 million of Government funding is to be used for free school meals during holiday periods. 

In a post on Facebook, the Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley, wrote: "I am pleased to announce the government THIS WEEK gave a further £18 million to Bradford Council that can be used to support the most vulnerable during these challenging times - such as free school meals during holiday periods - and I am very pleased to see they are using this government money to help with this."

Cllr Hinchcliffe said that it is not what the money is for.

A letter from the Secretary of State said: “I would expect you to continue to prioritise adult social care, children’s services, public health services, household waste services, shielding the clinically extremely vulnerable, homelessness and rough sleeping, domestic abuse, managing excess deaths (including costs relating to additional mortuary capacity) and support for re-opening the country.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: "Children’s services in this quote from the Secretary of State doesn’t mean meals during holidays, it means paying for children’s social workers, children who have been taken into care and foster care placements etc. 

"Public health includes things like Environmental Health and public health professionals who are focused on controlling the spread of the virus."

She said the Council is funding free meals for disadvantaged children and families because "like most people we recognise that, in these exceptional times, it’s the right thing to do".

"Whilst one-off Government funding is welcome, the Council Director of Finance presented accounts in September which showed that the council funding gap for next year is over £47 million," she said.

"This continues to be a concern, not just for Bradford Council but for all councils round the country.  The cost pressures on councils during the pandemic have been huge and to be able to plan for the next year we need some financial commitments and certainty from central government."