To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what was the cost of the free school meal vouchers issued over the summer holiday; and what was the value of those vouchers not redeemed.
Our national voucher scheme launched on 31 March. Edenred, the supplier, has reported that over £380 million worth of voucher codes had been redeemed into supermarket eGift cards by families, as of 19 August, and over 20,350 schools had placed orders for the scheme as of 28 July. This covers both term time and holiday provision. Schools also had the option to order via local voucher schemes and claim costs back through the exceptional costs fund. The free school meal (FSM) voucher scheme has now closed. Schools and their kitchens are open, so normal FSM provision has resumed, enabling children to have a nutritious healthy meal at school. We do not hold data relating to the value of vouchers that have not been redeemed and such a figure would still be subject to change. The expiry date on an eGift card varies depending on the retailer (the shortest term being 12 months).