Free school meal vouchers to continue until Easter

Rotherham Council’s cabinet are set to give the go ahead for free school meal vouchers during school holidays to continue until Easter.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 12:35 pm

The council is set to approve a £1.1 million government grant to fund supermarket vouchers for youngsters on free school meals through the Christmas, February half term, and Easter 2022 holidays.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of children eligible for free school meals in the borough has risen by 25 per cent to more than 11,000, and a report from charity Save the Children indicated that more than 1 in 3 children in the Rotherham borough now live in poverty, a five per cent increase since 2014/15.

A further £1.3m will be used to support 14,000 low income families with their council tax bills, if the funding is approved at the council’s next cabinet meeting on November 22.

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Councillor Chris Read, Labour leader of Rotherham Council said: “The cuts to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits have left a huge hole in the finances of many local families, at a time when bills are rising and the Conservatives’ National Insurance rise is only months away.

“As we head towards the festive period when pressure on family budgets is often at its highest, we want to ensure as many residents as possible get the benefit of this support in the simplest way possible.

“We know that the holiday vouchers to support children who receive free school meals during term time have made a real difference over the last few months, but we’ve only been able to fund them one holiday at a time.

“So it’s good to be able to give families some certainty about the support they’ll get over the months ahead.”