Over the last week there has been a national discussion on Free School Meals (FSM), following the campaign from the footballer Marcus Rashford.

First, on Rashford; politicians and the media are the first to complain when footballers get into the media for the wrong reasons, so, genuinely, I admire his convictions.

The issue behind FSMs is how to best help families, not whether to do so. FSMs are important, but they may not always be the best way to provide targeted help.

It’s obvious that the government has handled this badly. I have asked them, as others have, to explain why.

If the government agrees that the answer is, in fact, extending the scheme, then this needs to be done — and done quickly. If not, then it needs to reassure people that it is doing the right thing for those who are finding times tough.

I make no secret when I disagree with the government but the support they have provided during the pandemic is unparalleled.

There has been a national uplift in Universal Credit of £9.3 billion pounds — this will see families with lower incomes directly receive £1,040. The IW Council has also received over £150,000, in additional to £100 million to support Island jobs.

This is not an issue of ‘should government help?’ but how government helps.

More generally, I am concerned about our Covid response. We need a more thought-out strategy. Lockdown is not a long-term solution. A vaccine will help, especially with the vulnerable, but it may not be the magic bullet we hope for. Meanwhile, as the economy declines, hardship increases: poverty hurts people physically and psychologically.

On that point, I voted against the government on the 10pm curfew recently as there is little scientific evidence to support it, while it damages livelihoods. We also know a shrinking economy means potentially less money for public services and higher taxes, which in turn takes money from families.

These are both serious issues and will become more pressing. We need to understand the best way to help those who need help — and get on and deliver it.

I am grateful for Islanders’ letters to me on these subjects.

I spoke with the Foodbank and Citizens Advice this week. For those who may need, please contact Citizens Advice: 01983 823859, or https://www.islehelp.me/help-through-crisis/, or please contact me and I will forward your details.