Rachel has welcomed additional cash for families struggling to put food on the table during the Covid-19 pandemic, including during the summer break.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday announced the Government will be providing a Covid Summer Food Fund to provide food vouchers covering the six-week summer holiday period. It follows a letter sent to all MPs by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford who through his own personal experience highlighted the difficulties many families face.
Full details will be set out shortly, but this is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic. Those eligible will be those who already qualify for free school meals.
The Government has made significant wider support available for children and families at this time. 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, the Government has introduced an uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion by Government into the welfare system.
The Government is providing children with free school meals while they are at home due to school closures. Under normal circumstances, schools do not provide meals to eligible children who are not in school. A national voucher scheme will make sure children who usually benefit from free school meals still have access to healthy and nutritious meals while they are not at school.
Additionally, two million food packages have been issued to those who are shielding. We have already delivered two million food packages to the clinically extremely vulnerable as part of the Government’s support network across the country.
£16 million for food support has been provided through charities ensuring that no one goes hungry as a result of Covid-19. The funding is part of £750 million announced by the Chancellor for front-line charities across the UK during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Rachel said: “I would like to pay tribute to Marcus Rashford for highlighting to me the plight of parents during this most difficult of times.
“The Government has gone above and beyond to ensure no one goes hungry during the Coronavirus pandemic. The provision for free school meals is ordinarily only available during term time, it is not intended for the national voucher scheme to run during the summer holidays. However, I’m delighted the Covid Summer School Fund will enable this to happen.
“We want to ensure no parent has to worry about where their child’s next meal is coming from and through continuing Government investment, we will support families across England.”