Bevan Foundation welcomes free school meals in holidays

Poverty School canteen table
Image by Katrina_S from Pixabay
NewsOctober 15th, 2020

The Bevan Foundation has welcomed the Welsh Government’s decision to provide free school meals for eligible children in the school holidays.

The Bevan Foundation has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, that the Welsh Government will provide free school meals for eligible children in school holidays up to and including Easter 2021. The decision will benefit roughly 85,000 children and cost £11 million.

The decision follows the Welsh Government’s provision of free meals to Wales’ poorest children in school holidays earlier this year.  Steffan Evans on BBC BreakfastSpeaking on BBC Breakfast and Radio 1 on 15th October, Dr Steffan Evans, Policy Officer at the Bevan Foundation, said:

It is welcome news … We know that the support provided over the course of last summer and indeed last Easter was really valued by families“.

While schools were closed at the start of the pandemic, the majority of Welsh local authorities provided cash in lieu of food, giving families choices about food and where to buy it, as well as enabling them to minimise social contact. The Bevan Foundation is urging all councils to adopt this practice.

In recent work on Free School Meals, the Bevan Foundation found that many children from low income families missed out on a free meal because of very tight rules on eligibility.  The Bevan Foundation is calling for the rules to be changed so that all children whose families receive Universal Credit can receive a meal. Under current rules, if a family includes someone who is working, their children are not eligible unless their earnings are less than £7,400 a year.

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