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Eligibility Threshold for Free School Meals

Volume 638: debated on Monday 26 March 2018

15. What assessment she has made of the effect on levels of in-work poverty of changes to the eligibility threshold for free school meals for households in receipt of social security benefits. (904561)

An estimated 50,000 more children will benefit from a taxpayer-funded free school meal by 2022 under universal credit. I will repeat that: 50,000 more children will get a free school meal. We are already ensuring that all existing children receiving free school meals will continue to receive them until roll-out or that phase of education is complete.

There clearly is a serious mismatch between the Secretary of State’s figures and those published by the highly respected Children’s Society, which tells me that 7,000 children will lose out in Sheffield alone. Will she undertake to publish the basis on which she has calculated those figures?

The Department for Education will be doing that. Sometimes charities are given the wrong information and therefore say the wrong information, having been led astray by Opposition Members. The Opposition voted against those free school meals. They voted against the removal of waiting days. They voted against advances of up to 100%, and they voted against two weeks of housing benefit support for the most vulnerable people in society. Shame on you.