Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Local People

Universal Credit (School Meals for Children)

DEFEND FREE SCHOOL MEALS IN UNIVERSAL CREDIT ROLL-OUT

I have joined calls with The Children’s Society for the Government to rethink their plans around free school meals under Universal Credit.

Currently, as Universal Credit is rolled out, all children who live in a household receiving this new benefit will receive a free school meal.

However, under current proposals set out in a consultation by the Department for Education, this will change when an earnings threshold of £7,400 will be introduced and will be for all new Universal Credit claimants come April 2018. This consultation runs until the 11th January 2018.

Yet, according to analysis of the proposals by The Children’s Society, these proposals will mean one million children living in poverty will miss out on the benefits of a free school meal and locally this will mean 3,007 in North Lincolnshire missing out.

This figure is roughly the same as those children currently living in poverty who don’t receive a free school meal; showing that Universal Credit will do nothing to alleviate child poverty rates in the UK.

Labour is calling on the Government to ensure that no child goes hungry during the school day, by ensuring that every child in a family receiving Universal Credit is eligible for Free School Meals.

Labour have always stood up for the benefits of free school meals on a child’s education and health and alleviating persistent child poverty levels in our society.

That is why the current proposals on the future of free school meals under Universal Credit are deeply concerning and show how this Government is out of touch with the importance to seriously address poverty levels across the country.

These changes will affect many local families, especially the poorest in our society, and it is important the Government rethinks their approach. Ministers must hear the views of local people on this matter and how we should be alleviating poverty, not entrenching it.

The Department for Education’s consultation runs until 11th January 2018. It can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/…/eligibility-for-free-school-meals-and-…

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