Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Children's Society in call for free school meals for all children in poverty

19 April 2012
Children's Society in call for free school meals for all children in poverty

Hundreds of thousands of England's poorest children could miss out on free school meals because of plans to simply the welfare system, a charity has warned.

The meals are linked to low-income benefits that are among those merging into a single Universal Credit in 2013, which the Children's Society said risked creating a benefit "cliff edge".

An income cap currently being considered by ministers could leave 120,000 families worse off, according to a report by the charity, which estimated that it would cost £500m to extend free school meals to all families on Universal Credit.

The Children's Society's Fair and Square report estimates that 2.2 million English schoolchildren are living below the poverty line. More than half of these youngsters are not receiving free school meals while 700,000 are not entitled to the dinners, it revealed.

Elaine Hindal, the charity's campaign for childhood director, said the introduction of a new system of entitlement was a chance to increase the availability of free school meals.

"The government has a unique opportunity to extend free school meals to all low-income working families, so that no child living in poverty misses out.

"This would be in line with the government's aim to make work pay by paving the way for many families to return to employment and help lift them out of poverty."

But the Government said it is determined to ensure that needy children don't miss out.

Children's minister Sarah Teather said: "We remain totally committed to continuing to provide free school meals (FSM) to children from the poorest families.

"We are reforming welfare to get more people into jobs as that is the surest way of cutting poverty. The reforms mean we will have to think hard about the best way to decide who is eligible for FSM so they continue to be targeted at those who need them the most."

The Children's Society has launched a petition calling on the government to extend free school meals to all children living in poverty in England - including low-income working families - by October 2012.

ATL survey shows teachers think school meals could be improved >>

LACA supports MP's call for mandatory school food standards for academies and free schools >>

Government inaction over obesity crisis is ‘killing' Britons, claims Jamie Oliver >>

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.

Tabletalk
Tabletalk
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk

Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com ](http://www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/blogs) Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[E-Newsletters](http://www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/email-newsletters.htm)[ For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking