Debates between Lord Krebs and Baroness Berridge during the 2019 Parliament

Free School Meals: Food Parcels

Debate between Lord Krebs and Baroness Berridge
Thursday 14th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con) [V]
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My Lords, as I have outlined, views were made clear about the quality of the food parcels. I make it clear that the department does not enter into contracts with any of these suppliers—it is done at local level. The standards that food needs to meet are outlined in statute, and the guidance is under that, so it is quite clear what should be provided. I must pay tribute to school staff and catering staff who are delivering meals to those free school meals pupils who are in school. Often the option of delivering food parcels to the door is the best way to meet the needs of a vulnerable child, particularly because it keeps the school in contact with them directly.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB) [V]
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My Lords, government figures show that more than 4 million children in the UK live in poverty, and many of them will be living with food insecurity. However, there are no official figures. Therefore, could the Minister tell us when the Government will publish their assessment of how many children in the UK are living without enough healthy food, and could she tell us what policies they will implement to tackle the problem in both the short and the long term?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge (Con) [V]
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My Lords, the Government are awaiting the second part of the national food strategy, and we have said that we will respond with a White Paper within six weeks of that strategy being published. We have expanded the entitlement to free school meals; at the moment, 1.4 million children receive free school meals. We have given the undertaking that any family that moves from legacy benefits on to universal credit will have an entitlement to free school meals. So we are meeting the needs of children. In addition to that, there are the holiday activity clubs that we have expanded, as of the Easter holidays of this year. So we are looking to meet the needs of those in our society who need food.

Housing: New Homes

Debate between Lord Krebs and Baroness Berridge
Tuesday 11th February 2020

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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The noble Lord is correct that, once planning permission is granted—which can take about two years—it is in everyone’s interests, including the developer and the local community, that the site is built on. Last year, we saw more than 375,000 grants of planning permission. The noble Lord is aware that in 2018 Sir Oliver Letwin was asked to review whether there was a hold-up of what is called the build-out rate. His main conclusion was about the absorption rate of bringing large numbers of units into the local market. He recommended that we diversify the type of units on each site, so they can be put on the market in smaller groups, appeal more widely and not affect the market price.

Lord Krebs Portrait Lord Krebs (CB)
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My Lords, the Minister will be aware that many new houses are being built in flood-risk areas. Between 2001 and 2014, 250,000 new homes were built in such areas and currently the number being built in them is increasing year on year. Many of these houses are being built against Environment Agency advice. Although some are protected by hard flood defences, does the noble Baroness agree that two measures should be crucial to all new building developments; namely, the installation of sustainable urban drainage systems and, secondly, the removal of the automatic right to connect to often overloaded Victorian drains?

Baroness Berridge Portrait Baroness Berridge
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The noble Lord is correct to raise this issue, given the effects of the recent storm. Many communities are today living with the effects of flooding in their properties. However, it would be unrealistic to ban all development in flood-risk areas because around 10% of England and parts of London are viewed as being at high risk. These decisions need to be taken locally and carefully, and the Environment Agency is one of the statutory bodies that needs to be consulted on planning.