Free School Meals: Blackpool

Department for Education written question – answered on 26th May 2020.

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Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard Conservative, Blackpool North and Cleveleys

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to support the families of pupils on free school meals in Blackpool during the school summer holidays in 2020.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Blackpool Opportunity Area funded a summer activity with food programme across 6 of the most disadvantaged wards in Blackpool, combining healthy eating, arts and craft and sports with provision of food in the holidays in 2019. This included the development of a local authority, public health and community and voluntary sector partnership, which has continued enabling groups to work together to secure additional funding from the Sunday Times Christmas Campaign. Plans for this summer are not yet confirmed.

This summer, our holiday activities and food programme will ensure thousands of disadvantaged children in England have access to healthy meals and holiday activities – building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes – and we remain committed to supporting children and families through the disruption caused by COVID-19. We will announce the successful local areas shortly.

In addition, the government continues to invest significantly each year on welfare benefits for people of working age, supporting people when they need it, including those who are out of work or on a low income. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the government’s package of support in response to COVID-19 is one of the largest in the world. We have increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by over £1,000 a year for this financial year, benefiting over 4 million households and increased Local Housing Allowance rates, putting an average of £600 into people’s pockets. Taken together, these measures provide over £6.5 billion of additional support through the welfare system for people affected by COVID-19, the biggest ever in Universal Credit.

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