Brent Council will provide support to families whose children receive free school meals after the Government confirmed they would not be offered during half-term.

Those eligible can collect a £15 food voucher from the council, with further information available from their respective schools.

It expects to support around 10,000 children during the week but said it was important not to let vulnerable people go hungry.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said: “It was deeply depressing to see the Government vote against free school meals for kids who desperately need them earlier in the week.

“Brent Council fully supports the campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford to end child food poverty and we hope that the Government will look to change their mind so that we support all children who need our help and support in these most challenging times.”

In neighbouring Harrow, the council is not offering explicit financial support, but said it is stepping up efforts with the community and voluntary sector in the borough to aid those in need.

This includes pointing people towards food banks and other support networks, such as community cafes and surplus food markets which operate on a pay as you feel basis.

Cllr Christine Robson, who is responsible for young people and schools at Harrow Council, said: “We understand that many families are going through uncertain and difficult times owing to the coronavirus pandemic and these come into sharp focus during half-term.

“The message from the Council is that we are here to support you. We have developed relationships throughout the voluntary and community sector to support people through these uncertain times.

“We have strong working relationships with schools and through our child in need service already support many children and their families. This has never stopped and never shall.

“No child should ever go hungry – which is why in Harrow we’re working to tackle food poverty now and in the future.”

Last week, MPs voted not to provide additional support to children on school meals during October half-term, despite a campaign from Manchester United and England forward Rashford.

Harrow East MP Bob Blackman voted against free school meals, while Labour representatives Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Dawn Butler (Brent Central), Barry Gardiner (Brent North) and Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn) supported the motion.

Following the vote, local authorities, as well as many other organisations across the country, have stepped up to provide support to families who might otherwise have struggled to feed their children.

The Labour Party said it would push for another vote in the Commons on the issue following mounting pressure on the Government to reverse its decision.