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Bevan Foundation makes the case for Free School Meals

December 10th 2020

The Bevan Foundation were delighted to be able to join a panel discussion organised by the Cardiff People’s Assembly on Free School Meals

Two children eating school lunch

Steffan Evans was delighted to receive an invite from the Cardiff People’s Assembly to join a discussion on Free School Meals in Wales. Steffan joined a number of other speakers on the panel including Ellie Harwood from Child Poverty Action Group, Donna Ali from the Campbell Network, Sue Leader from Unite Community Wales, Mairead Canvan from the NEU and Frances Curran a former Member of the Scottish Parliament.

Steffan set out some of the findings from the Bevan Foundation’s recent work on Welsh Benefits, focusing in particular on the benefits offered by Free School Meals and on some of the weaknesses within the current system. He argued that there are four main weaknesses within the current system:

  1. Too many children who are trapped in poverty are locked out from receiving Free School Meals due to arbitrary eligibility criteria.
  2. Complicated application processes and stigma are deterring parents from applying for support.
  3. The support on offer through Free School Meals is not always enough.
  4. School meals are just one cost faced by parents who also have to pay for other activities that take place in school, putting pressure on families’ resources.

He argued that the Welsh Government should immediately change the eligibility criteria for Free School Meals so that every child whose family receives Universal Credit receives Free School Meals, with a view to moving towards a system where school meas are universally provided.

You can read the Bevan Foundation’s research on this in full by clicking here. 

You can also catch up with the discussion last night by visiting the Cardiff People’s Assembly’s facebook page.

The People’s Assembly have also established a petition calling on the Welsh Government to provide universal free school meals. If you would like to find out more or sign the petition yourself you can click here. 

If you would like the Bevan Foundation to contribute to an event you are organising then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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