Fewer Free School Meals Warning

Fewer Free School Meals Warning

Warnings are in place to parent's of poorer backgrounds, as benefit changes could see a reduction in the number of free school meals for their children.

In a report created by the Children's Society, it states that minister's are planning an income cap on eligibility; which they believe will leave almost 120,000 families struggling. However, the Government are keen to state that they will ensure no needy child will suffer as a result of these changes.

The free school meals are linked to families on low-income benefits; these families are planned to be merged into a single Universal Credit Plan in 2013.

The Children's Society have estimated that to keep these families on free school meals, it will cost the Government £500 million. Ministers are instead planning on only providing free school meals to families earning less than £145 a week.
The Charity have spoken out about the proposed decision; calling it a 'benefit cliff-edge', that will leave 120,000 families worse off.

Elaine Hindal, Director of the charity, has said that the changes to the system should have been an opportunity for the Government to increase the availability of free school meals, not decrease them.

The Government has an unique opportunity to extend free school meals to all low-income working families, so that no child living in poverty misses out, - Director of Children's Society

As a result of the planned benefit changes going public, the Children's society have started a petition, calling on the Government to ensure free school meals are available to all children that live in poverty - as well as low-income working families - by October 2012. To sign the petition Click Here

The Government stipulates 'living in poverty' as being when a household brings in less than 60% of the median household income.

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