Free School Meals: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 23rd November 2020.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support will be available under the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to ensure that shielding children on free school meals receive food support through the holidays.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme is a new £170m fund which will enable local authorities to support vulnerable households this winter with food and key utilities. That fund builds on the £63 million already distributed earlier this year and, as then, funding will be disbursed according to an authority’s population, weighted by a function of the English index of multiple deprivation. Any Barnett consequentials are already included in the guaranteed £16 billion funding for the devolved Administrations, so there is funding available for every child in the UK.

Grants to local authorities will be made under Section 31 of the Local Authorities Act 2003 and will carry conditions to ensure the primary focus of the scheme is on supporting vulnerable families with children affected by the pandemic, including but not restricted to households who are eligible to free school meals. Within those conditions, local authorities will have flexibility to decide how best to identify and support those most in need in their local area. Detailed guidance is being developed in consultation with local authorities and will be published shortly on gov.uk.

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