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Vulnerable Children

Volume 676: debated on Monday 11 May 2020

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on support for vulnerable children during the covid-19 outbreak. (902429)

I have regular discussions with the Minister for children and families, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), and others on mitigating the effect of covid-19 on vulnerable groups. We are providing them with support as they implement the free school meals voucher system, and we have increased universal credit and working tax credit by more than £1,000 a year over the next 12 months, which will benefit more than 4 million households.

Given that we know that nearly 90% of vulnerable children are not at school or learning and that there are new frontiers of vulnerabilities in children suffering from possible domestic abuse and mental health issues, what further work, other than that which the Minister has mentioned, is the Department doing specifically with the Department for Education to help those children learn and to give them and their families proper financial support?

I thank my right hon. Friend for that question. We are committed to ensuring the safety and protection of vulnerable children and young people, particularly during the current period, and that is why we have invested an extra £6.5 billion in our welfare system. I know that he has huge expertise in this area. In addition to my work with the Minister for children and families, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Vicky Ford), and others across Government, I would be very happy to work with him to explore other ways that he thinks we may be able to support vulnerable children.