CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak’s measures were widely welcomed yesterday – the word “generous” was even used – and it is good that the Government’s position seems to have changed after it spent the week trying to browbeat the regions into accepting deals they didn’t think were large enough.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and Mr Sunak has returned to the Despatch Box and amended the plans he announced a month ago when the virus was believed to be on the decline.

Overall, it is a welcome softening of the Government’s stance, and it is an acknowledgement that companies, and their employees, are suffering real hardship.

Despite that, though, the Government has set its face against extending free school meals into the holidays for the poorest children, a move proposed by footballer Marcus Rashford. The governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are extending their schemes, which leaves the English government looking hard hearted.

There may well be abuses of vouchers by parents and there may well be a need for parents to take more responsibility, but by citing these as reasons not to extend the scheme, the Government is visiting the sins of the parents upon the children. It is the children who will go hungry.