Extending Free School Meals

I have been contacted by a number of residents with concerns about the position on Free School Meals support during school holidays.

I raised these concerns directly with Government in order to convey the strength of feeling that many people have on this issue. I am very pleased that the Government has now responded by introducing a new £170 million fund to help families with children who need further help this Christmas and Easter. Of this money, £1.2 million will be spent helping children specifically in Croydon.

This step is in addition to those already taken:

• Increasing Universal Credit and Tax Credits by over £1,000 per year per family (at a total cost of around £5 billion per year)
• Extending free school meals support to those eligible when schools closed during previous lockdowns
• Protecting millions of jobs and livelihoods through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which have been extended until March 2021
• £63m for councils to provide emergency assistance to families, pensioners and the most vulnerable with food, essentials and meals
• Increasing Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and housing benefit claimants – benefiting over 1 million households by on average £600 this year

A full update from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions can be found here, which outlines these measures in greater detail: Winter Support Package

I know that this has been a difficult year for many of us, and I am pleased the Government has listened and is now doing even more to help those who have been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus.