I understand that parents across the country are going through particularly difficult and stressful times. We have never had a period of schooling disruption like this. After weeks of home schooling, I know parents and children alike will be longing for a return to normality.
Provision for free school meals is ordinarily for term time only with the aim of providing healthy meals for children in school. However, during the Easter and half term holidays this year the Government met the costs of the national voucher scheme to provide free school meals for eligible pupils.
In recognition of the continued unprecedented situation facing some parents and children this summer, the Government will be providing a Covid Summer Food Fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.
The Fund will provide food vouchers covering the six-week summer holiday period. A one-off six-week voucher will be given to eligible families at the end of term to use in supermarkets. The scheme will not continue beyond the summer, and those eligible will be those who already qualify for free school meals.
Significant wider support has also been made available for children and families. On 10 June the Prime Minister confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. In addition, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit have been uplifted by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system.
The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme will also be running this summer at a cost of £9 million, through which will benefit thousands of disadvantaged children. The HAF scheme arranges provision in a range of local settings, including school premises.