Restaurant where Rishi 'did shifts for fun' will offer children free meals over half term

Emily Cleary
·3-min read
 (Simon Walker HM Treasury)
Rishi Sunak was one of 322 MPs to vote against offering vulnerable children free meals during school holidays (Simon Walker HM Treasury)

The restaurant where Rishi Sunak worked as a waiter “for fun” is letting kids eat free over half term after the government voted against funding free meals for the most vulnerable.

Kuti’s Brasserie in Southampton posted a notice on social media from owner Kuti Miah saying: “Following the government’s decision not to extend the meal voucher scheme, Kuti’s Brasserie will be offering free hot meals to any child... to support our community over half term.”

When Sunak became Chancellor, Miah told the Bournemouth Echo that he had worked some shifts as a waiter “for fun” because he liked meeting people.

“I’ve known Rishi since he was a little baby,” he said. “His father Yashvir is my very good friend.

“He grew up in front of me and I always said Rishi is going to be an important person because he was so very clever and nice. They’ve never missed Christmas Eve here for the last 25 years.”

On Wednesday, 322 Tory MPs, including Sunak, voted against a measure to extend free school meals for the country’s poorest children over the half-term and winter school holidays.

Kuti Brasserie’s offer has been replicated across England after footballer Marcus Rashford promised retweets for all venues offering free meals for hungry kids.

“This is the England I know”, Rashford said, after hundreds of eateries joined his #endchildfoodpoverty campaign.

Rashford has lobbied the government throughout lockdown to continue providing free school meals for vulnerable children through school holidays.

Now councils have followed suit.

Labour-run Birmingham City Council is one of the latest to announce it will supply food vouchers - for 61,000 pupils.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (R) hosts a roundtable meeting for business representatives flanked by Britain's Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick (L) at a branch of the Franco Manca chain pizza restaurant in London on October 22, 2020. - The Chancellor announced on October 22 a new support package for businesses affected by Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, the 'high' alert level which effects places like London and Birmingham, which include subsidies for pubs and restaurants. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEFAN ROUSSEAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The government has faced a backlash from hospitality venues and local councils after voting down a bill to contimue offering free school meals to vulnerable children during school holidays (Photo by Stefan Rousseau / POOL / AFP)

Tory-run Staffordshire and Kensington and Chelsea will do the same.

Sunak announced an emergency multibillion-pound bailout for the UK on Thursday, aimed at supporting workers and firms through the second coronavirus wave.

The Job Support Scheme, which replaces the current furlough system from 1 November, will be made more generous in an effort to persuade firms to keep staff in work.

There will also be grants of up to £2,100 a month available for firms in Tier 2 areas of England, aimed at helping hospitality and leisure venues which have seen takings plummet due to restrictions on households mixing.

The package could cost the Exchequer around £13 billion over six months.

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