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27th Nov, 2021

Rachel Maclean speaks on why she voted down free school meals bid

See Redditch MP Rachel Maclean’s statement in full:

The actions we took at the start of the pandemic reflected the extraordinary circumstances we found ourselves in – where the lines between education and home were blurred.

Schools provided meals for eligible pupils whilst they learnt from home and so rightly, the Government temporarily extended Free School Meals over the school holidays.

While schools were restricted from opening to all pupils, additional support was given to families in recognition of the unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty for schools during this time.

But we are now in a different position with schools back open to all pupils. Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only and there is no requirement for schools to continue this provision during school holidays.

Universal Credit, which the Government has increased by £1,000 for families this year, provides support to families all year round. We believe that the best way to support families all year round is through Universal Credit.

I of course recognise this is a challenging time for families across the country which is why the Government has also temporarily extended free school meal eligibly to include children from families who have no recourse to public funds and have a maximum household income of £28,200 for areas outside of London.

We will continue to provide a safety net for those who need it. This includes £63 million in funding for councils to provide emergency assistance to families with food, essentials and meals and this support is available to families in Redditch.

 

 

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