Julian welcomes the Government’s reaffirmation of support for families through extension of national voucher scheme
June 16, 2020
Julian has welcomed the Government’s efforts to make sure no child goes hungry during this challenging and unprecedented period through the formation of a new Covid Summer Food Fund that will support children eligible for free school meals with a 6 week voucher this summer.
The Government spends over £550 million a year, through the National Funding Formula, providing free school meals for disadvantaged children and young people across England. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, schools have continued to receive this funding and the Government has provided additional funding for the national voucher scheme to support children at home. As of 15 June, vouchers worth over £154 million have been redeemed by schools and families.
As schools open more widely, and their kitchens reopen, schools will be expected to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are not yet able to return to school. Where this is not possible, schools can continue to offer vouchers to eligible pupils.
Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. Julian fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation this summer, and thank Marcus Rashford for his work to highlight the difficulties which many families face. To reflect this, the Government will be providing a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.
Speaking after the announcement, Julian said:
“Following the Government’s earlier decision to extend free school meal provision into the Easter holidays, it was important to have a careful assessment of how best to assist affected children over the longer summer break, in this completely unprecedented situation which has hit so many households hard.
Ministers had already assigned £63 million to local authorities to help the most at-need families, and I welcome the news that they have now built on this with the summer voucher extension.
By this, I am glad to see the government reaffirming its commitment to support households through this emergency, complementing measures like the coronavirus furlough scheme, which is ensuring nearly 9 million people can put food on the table.”