Support for Vulnerable Children

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 13th September 2021.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on support for vulnerable children.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Ministers are meeting this week to discuss the success of the holiday activity fund, and good progress has been made on the digitalisation of Healthy Start vouchers. We will continue the ministerial meetings on developing support for families and family hubs.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee, Chair, Education Committee

I thank my right hon. Friend for her remarkable work on universal credit during the pandemic. With the forthcoming changes to UC, will my right hon. Friend continue to target financial support on families who need it most, and will she work with the Department for Education to use existing funds from the sugar levy to expand breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children? We know that breakfast provision significantly increases educational attainment. Children with free breakfast provision achieved an additional two months’ progress in educational attainment.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I am conscious, especially with my right hon. Friend’s leadership of the Select Committee on Education, of how passionately he feels about this particular area. My Department is supporting the Department for Education’s family hubs work, which includes investing up to £24 million to continue our national school breakfast programme over the next two years, and that includes the recently announced additional £20 million investment from the Treasury’s shared outcomes fund.