Free School Meals

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government response to the consultation on Eligibility for free school meals, the early years pupil premium and the free early education entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit, published in March 2018, what estimate he has made of additional costs to his Department per year as a result of the proposed Free School Meal eligibility criteria.

Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government response to the consultation on Eligibility for free school meals, the early years pupil premium and the free early education entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit, published in March 2018, whether his Department will be be the only Department funding additional costs accumulated due to the proposed changes in free school meals eligibility criteria.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Our new criteria for free school meals eligibility are forecast to increase the number of children eligible for this vital benefit. In addition, our transitional protections will mean that all children currently receiving a free meal will continue to do so.

We have published a technical note setting out our forecast of how many additional pupils will be eligible for free school meals because of the recent changes we have made. This is available at the following address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/free-school-meals-technical-analysis-note.

Costs within this Spending Review period fall predominantly within the pupil premium and dedicated school grant budgets, and there is flexibility in these budgets to allow for changes in demand. We publish spend through these budgets at the appropriate points in the year.

Due to the lagged nature of school funding, the majority of costs fall within the next and subsequent Spending Review periods; budgets beyond 2020 will be set in the next Spending Review. Eligibility for free school meals is set out in legislation and this government is committed to ensuring that disadvantaged children and young people benefit from free school meals.

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