Letter: Thousands of children in poverty in Rochdale are set to miss out on free school meals

Date published: 04 March 2018

Thousands of children in poverty in Rochdale are set to miss out on free school meals with new 'means test' proposals.

The government wants to change the eligibility for free school meals under Universal Credit, disregarding the views of thousands of people who objected to their plans. The proposal is to restrict access to free school meals under Universal Credit, with up to 3,300 children in poverty in Rochdale set to miss out on this vital support. 

Before Christmas, the government proposed that it would limit free school meals to those families earning under £7,400 per year. It has have now published the regulations in order to make these changes. These proposed changes to free school meals will mean a million children in poverty in England will miss out on a guaranteed nutritious meal every school day. 

Until now any family who has been moved onto Universal Credit, as it’s slowly been introduced across the UK, has been entitled to free school meals. Instead the government has announced it is halting the rollout of free school meals to all children on Universal Credit and pressing ahead with plans to introduce a new 'means test'. 

The new rules will create a situation in the future where many working families will be punished for taking on extra hours or accepting a pay rise because they would have their free school meals taken away. These are worth around £400 a year per child – a huge sum if you are on a low income.

End Hunger UK and the Children's Society are calling on their supporters to use a crucial chance to stop these changes in their tracks - and ask their MP to stop them from becoming law. 

This can be done in a few moments at:

For more information from The Children's Society, with an online map to tell readers the number of families effected, interested readers can read:

Thank you.


Andrew Wastling

The views expressed are those of the author of the letter and not those of Rochdale Online.

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