William Eichler 16 June 2020

PM forced into U-turn on free school meals

Local authority leaders have welcomed the Government’s decision to provide a £120m voucher scheme to help children from the poorest families get free school meals over the summer holidays.

The announcement was made this afternoon after ministers have repeatedly rejected the extension. The U-turn is in response to pressure from the footballer Marcus Rashford and before Labour was due to force a vote on the issue.

Families entitled to free school meals will receive a one-off £15 voucher at the end of the school term for the six-week school break. These vouchers, which will benefit 1.3 million children, can be spent in supermarkets.

Cllr Judith Blake, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Children and Young People Board, welcomed the decision.

‘No young person should have to go hungry and ensuring vulnerable pupils, including those on free school meals and with special educational needs and disabilities, are provided for is a top priority for councils and schools,’ she said.

‘We are therefore pleased that the Government has committed to provide this lifeline for many families across the country which will ensure that vulnerable children will not go hungry over the summer holidays.’

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