Families in Richmond upon Thames are being urged to check if they qualify for free school meals, after a government u-turn means that the scheme will now be funded over the summer holidays.
Last month, the Government announced that they would be funding the scheme that provides vulnerable and low-income families with vital vouchers for food over the traditional six-week summer break, having previously ruled it out.
With the Coronavirus pandemic having had a massive effect on employment, it is expected that more families will be eligible to claim for free school meals than before.
Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee, said:
“I am delighted that the Government has seen sense and decided to fund free school meals over this year’s summer holiday. As a result of the pandemic, more people will be out of work, more and more people will be claiming Universal Credit and therefore free school meals will be ever more relevant.
“This scheme is a vital lifeline for so many families across our borough and will be a relief to many who were facing up a very fiscally challenging six weeks.
“I’d strongly urge all families whose financial circumstances have been affected by the pandemic to check if they are eligible for the scheme.”
Families in receipt of the following support payments will be entitled your child will be entitled to receive free school meals:
Universal Credit - provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods
Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190)
Working Tax Credit run-on (the payment someone receives for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)
More information is available at www.richmond.gov.uk/free_school_meals
– from a Richmond Council press release - 6 July 2020