- Stuart Anderson MP has today, on the 16th of June 2020, welcomed the Government’s announcement that all children eligible for free school meals in term time in England will benefit from the Covid-19 Summer Food Fund during the school summer holidays.
- This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period and the support in England works out at about £15 a week per recipient.
Stuart Anderson MP said: “I’m delighted by the announcement from Boris Johnson and the Government today that children who need it will not go without free school meals throughout the summer holiday.
“This was brought to my attention on Monday morning by Carl Henry and the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, asking for help. The first thing that I did was to lodge a formal, written question to the Government. I’ve then been able to lobby the Ministers this week.
"Thank you to Marcus Rashford and MPs across the country, who have all done the same. Through all of us coming together, we have seen how one person can make a huge difference. This is an outstanding result. Thank you to everyone who got in touch and made me aware of this.”
This Government spends over £550 million a year, through the National Funding Formula, providing free school meals for disadvantaged children and young people across England. During the Coronavirus outbreak, schools have continued to receive this funding. The Government has also provided additional funding for the national voucher scheme to support children at home during the outbreak. As of the 15th of June, vouchers worth over £154 million have been redeemed by schools and families.
In addition, the Government has made significant wider support available for children and families. On the 10th of June, the Prime Minister confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those struggling to afford food and other essentials due to Covid-19. The Government has also introduced an uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion by Government into the welfare system.
Additional support has been pledged by various departments across the Government, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announcing the provision of £16 million for food support through charities, including FareShare and WRAP. DEFRA have also issued 2 million food packages to those who are shielding.
The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme ensures that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to enriching activities and nutritious healthy meals over the summer. This summer, the Department will again run the programme at a cost of £9 million.
More widely, the Government has supported families to cope with the impact of Coronavirus by introducing a range of support measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. Over 11.5 million people have been supported by these schemes, meaning that millions of families have continued to receive a pay cheque every month. Support has also been provided to help families pay their rent or mortgage, access sick pay, and delay tax payments.