Universal credit changes will bar 2.6 million children from free school meals, warns Labour

Up to 2.6 million children whose parents are on benefits could be missing out on free school meals by 2022, the shadow education minister will warn. The Independent reports.

Angela Rayner will tell a GMB union conference on Sunday that the Government’s claims on school meals are “falling apart” after changes to eligibility under Universal Credit (UC).

A government technical note published in May said that if the change had not been made, “around half of all (state school) children would become eligible for FSM and the meals would no longer be targeted at those who need them the most”.

It said that in 2017 around 1.1 million disadvantaged children were eligible and received a free school meal, some 14 per cent of all state-school pupils.

But if the change had not been made the number of additional children who would have been eligible was between 2,300,000 and 2,600,000 by 2022.

In a speech to the GMB’s Public Services Conference in Brighton on Sunday, Mrs Rayner will urge the Government to adopt Labour’s plan for free school meals for all primary school children.

She will say: “Ministers said time and time again that no one would lose a meal, only for the IFS to reveal that one in eight children who were eligible will be stripped of their entitlement under the Universal Credit.

“Now it appears that there would be millions more who could have had a meal but will be denied.”

The technical note was published on the Government’s website after a Freedom of Information request for it by the GMB, the union said.

Read the full article Universal credit changes will bar 2.6 million children from free school meals, warns Labour

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