APSE welcomes the government's statement on continuing Free School Meals.
The Jobs Furlough Scheme is estimated to be costing £14bn a month to the UK Government. By contrast extending the free school meals programme over the summer holidays will cost around £110 million. At the same time, the school meals support, whether through vouchers or food parcels to vulnerable families, is going to the same people who may already have either lost at least 20% of their already low income or who are at risk of losing employment in sectors of the economy that continue to be hit hardest by lockdown. To remove access to free school meals at this time represents a double whammy to these families and children.
It makes no sense for Government to support jobs through the Furlough scheme and then for the sake of loose change in the grand scheme of things to take away a lifeline to the most vulnerable children. With the known impact of food poverty on the health and well-being of children and their families £110 million will be money well spent as a prevention measure. If directors and shareholders of large companies have been able to benefit from Government welfare provision through Furlough payments it is time to step up to the plate and feed the nations hardest hit children.