Listening to all the contributions, it is clear we are all committed to ensuring that no child should go hungry, that no child should worry about when they are going to eat next and that children have the support and opportunities to succeed.
Even before covid-19 infected our lives, this Government’s support for children was significant: delivering a world-class education; ensuring children have the skills to succeed; and ensuring children have a nutritious lunchtime meal to support their learning, concentration and ability to achieve at school. The support during coronavirus has been unprecedented. The Government ensured that no child was left behind while schools were closed, by providing substantial additional funding to eligible families through the national voucher scheme.
The total amount of supermarket vouchers redeemed by families was over £380 million. Alongside the income-protection schemes, which have so far protected 12 million jobs, the Government have provided £63 million in welfare assistance funding to local authorities to support families with urgent needs.
I will take no lectures from a Labour party that wants a full national lockdown, which would be disastrous—a party that will not work collectively at a time of national crisis; a party that politicises a national crisis; a party that, in this great place, calls my hon. Friend Chris Clarkson scum; a party that itself, when in government, refused to extend free school meals into the holidays.
We are in danger of viewing everything through the lens of covid-19. We need to look beyond that. How we treat our most vulnerable reflects on all of us, as does ensuring that the ladder of opportunity is one that everyone can climb. We all have an important collective role in helping to address the underlying causes of child poverty. A rounded approach to tackling child poverty will take children from their earliest years through schooling to adolescence and adult life, and not just react when there is a crisis. Every family turned around means more children in school and more parents in work.
If there is a vote, as I am sure there will be, I will not be voting for a Labour motion that is just one more action by those intent on undermining and derailing the response to this national crisis with yet another strapline. Instead, I will support a Government who I know are determined and committed to ensuring that families continue to have the support that they need, and not just during this crisis—a Government who listen and, I am sure, will take on board all comments made this evening on tackling child poverty. This is a Government who have during this crisis delivered an unprecedented set of measures to ensure that no child was left behind while schools were closed—a Government who will always provide a safety net, and not just at a time of national crisis, to ensure that those who need it most are supported unquestionably.