Mark Whitehead 17 November 2017

An extra 50,000 children could get free school dinners under Universal Credit reforms

About 50,000 more children will be eligible for free school meals under new proposals for the Universal Credit system, according to the Government.

It has launched a consultation on how to target benefits for children including introducing a net income threshold of £7,400 per year before benefits are taken into account for families to benefit from free school meals.

It says this would be typically equivalent to between £18,000 and £24,000 in total household income per year.

The same eligibility criteria would apply to the Early Years Pupil Premium which gives extra funding to early years settings to boost the attainment of pupils from low income families.

Announcing the proposals minister for children and families Robert Goodwill said all children currently receiving any of the current benefits should continue to receive them until the full roll out of Universal Credit, and then until they finish primary or secondary school.

He said the proposals should protect all children currently receiving support, while targeting the entitlements to ensure they reach those most in need.

Mr Goodwill said: 'We want every child to reach their potential, regardless of their background.

'As Universal Credit is rolled out, it is right that we continue to make sure this support reaches children from the most disadvantaged families.

'Our proposals should not only protect those children already receiving free school meals and additional school funding but will see thousands more benefitting from this support in future.'

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