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Free school meals - update

On 20 April the council free school meals vouchers that were in place for a temporary period will be replaced by the national government scheme.

The council scheme will continue to provide the vouchers to parents of eligible children until the 20 April, when school’s will automatically roll those eligible over to the national scheme.

The council scheme will increase from £11.50 to £15 per week to bring it in line with the pending national scheme.

If the school cannot continue to provide meals prepared at school for parents to collect, the national scheme will see parents of children who are eligible for free school meals receive a £15 voucher per week from their child’s school.

Vouchers can then be used to buy food from local supermarkets to provide the lunchtime meal their child would usually get from school. This shopping should be done as infrequently as possible in line with the ‘stay at home’ instructions brought in by Government.

Children of key workers who attend school will still be provided with their lunch in schools as usual.

Only parents who have a means tested, registered entitlement to free school meals will get the £15 voucher.

We understand some parent’s circumstances have changed, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak meaning loss of income. These questions and answers may help:

I’ve lost my job – might I be entitled now?

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

o Income Support

o Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

o Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

o Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

o The guaranteed element of Pension Credit

o Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

o Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

o Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Checking whether you qualify and registering is really quick and easy –  you can do this online:

Alternatively, you can contact your child’s school. They can help you but need information from you, such as your national insurance number and date of birth, to do this

I’ve been furloughed and my income has fallen – might I be entitled now?

Follow the steps above – apply online or contact your child’s school for help. If you are not entitled now, once you or the school have registered you on the system, you will automatically be notified if you become entitled to means tested free school meals.

 In the meantime, there are other sources of support available to you in the community. Please visit the emergency food support page for information on accessing help with food or call the Council Coronavirus helpline on 0151 666 5050, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.