A councillor has said he will not apologise after saying “if you can’t feed, don’t breed” in response to an email about supporting school meals.
Roger Taylor, an independent on Calderdale Council, was replying to to a message from the Unison trade union.
Mr Taylor said he supported free school meals, but parents were responsible for feeding their children during holidays.
Unison said it was “beyond belief that someone could show so little compassion”.
The email from Unison, sent on 10 December, contained a letter to councillors asking for their help to stop the school meals service from becoming a “casualty of the pandemic”, which they said had led to cuts to the service, staff numbers, pay and hours of work.
It made reference to the recent campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford to tackle child food poverty.
In his response Mr Taylor said: “If you can’t feed, don’t breed. Simples.”
Addressing his comments, Mr Taylor said: “I’m not going to apologise for it. What I said is what I said. That’s my opinion, I’m entitled to say it.”
He added: “Whilst I am a supporter of school meals and the service, the only threat will be the financial situation, with the lockdown making the economy, and level of income, much weaker.
“However, during the holidays it is the parents’ responsibility and I make no bones about that.”
Jon Richards, Unison head of local government, said: “It’s beyond belief that someone could show so little compassion. Children all over the country are going hungry because of the pandemic.
“Low-income families need support, not abuse from those who should know better.”
Mr Taylor, who represents the Northowram and Shelf wards in Halifax, faced calls to resign in March this year after a colleague said he replied to an email about a constituent whose son had Covid-19 with the word “yawn”.
Halifax Conservatives said he was expelled from the Conservative Party in December last year following an investigation.