National & International

Free school meal vouchers cut in value

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According to BBC News, annual holiday food vouchers for children on free school meals have been cut in value by councils across England this summer.

Out of 97 responses from local authorities, 43 said they had either stopped giving out vouchers or reduced the amount they were worth.

Some councils blame government rule changes for the cutbacks.

The government says funding is available to help councils support families in various ways.

Families with children on free school meals across the UK have been offered food vouchers during school holidays since a successful campaign led by footballer Marcus Rashford during the pandemic.

In England, about 1.9 million children have free school meals.

The funding for this summer’s food vouchers comes from the £421m Household Support Fund.

Up to two-thirds can be spent on families with children, and councils can decide how best to spend the cash in their area to help those struggling financially.

But at least a third must be spent on pensioners – a rule change several councils have told BBC News has contributed to reducing the value of holiday food vouchers.

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